Thursday 23 November 2017

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Donncha O'Connor (Cork)

Goalkeeper Alan Quirke was also a strong contender but O'Connor edges it on the basis of his six-point haul (0-4 from open play) and his all-round sense of industry, which took him far and wide in search of work and responsibility.

Turning point

Quirke's save from Declan O'Sullivan in the 50th minute. Quirke had made some earlier saves too but his block from O'Sullivan's goal effort at a time when Kerry had cut the deficit to two points was crucial. Cork out-scored Kerry by 0-7 to 0-4 from there on.

Talking point

How will Kerry respond to the qualifier challenge? They have coped well before but, as of now, they would need to win six games to take the All-Ireland title. It's a long road but they are experienced at negotiating the dangerous bends.

Magic moment

Excellent saves by goalkeepers are increasingly rare as forwards tend to take the point option, except with the clearest of chances. Kieran Donaghy was more adventurous in the 30th minute but Cork 'keeper Quirke was equal to the challenge using his large frame to good effect.

Ref watch

David Coldrick didn't flash the first of five yellow cards until stoppage time in the first half (Kerry midfielder, Anthony Maher), which was very surprising as several other clumsy tackles were punished by frees only. Many other referees would not have been as sparing. Where's the consistency?

What they said

Conor Counihan (Cork manager):

"On other days we mightn't have shown the same composure. Today we did show a bit of composure when it mattered most, which was important. We tried to boss the game, which is something we haven't always done previously. Our focus now is on the Munster final -- that's the route we wanted to go."

Jack O'Connor (Kerry manager):

"We've had some good days against Cork over the past years but they were deserving winners today. Kicking 12 points won't win you too many games. There was a period in the first half when we had some good chances but didn't nail them. We must have missed at least three goal chances."

Match statistics

Wides: Cork 9 (3 first half); Kerry 8 (3 ).

Frees: Cork 22 (12); Kerry 26 (17).

Yellow cards: Cork 2 (M Shields 49, D O'Connor 53); Kerry 3 (A Maher 35+2, Darran O' Sullivan 62, P Crowley 72).

Red cards: Cork 0; Kerry 0.

Attendance: 23, 184.

What next?

Cork play Clare in the Munster final in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick on July 8; Kerry head for Round 2 of the qualifiers on July 14.

Irish Independent

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