Clifford inspires Kerry to fourth straight title
Kerry 3-14 Cork 3-8
Kerry completed a four-in-a-row of Munster Minor Football titles with a deserved six-point win over a vibrant Cork side in the curtain raiser at the Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.
Kerry finished strongly thanks to the brilliance of 16-year-old David Clifford, who enthralled the crowd with a magical performance - scoring 1-5 and also setting up the Kingdom's other two goals.
Kerry made a whirlwind start with Mike Breen and Mark Ryan on top at midfield, and Cork were lucky to trail only 2-3 to 0-2 after 11 minutes, as the Kerry attack were shredding the Rebels' defence at will.
Brian Friel almost got in for a goal from a throw-in but, when he hit the post a minute later, Sean O'Shea fired Kerry in front. O'Shea then converted a 45 before striking for their opening goal.
Mike Breen appeared to misdirect a high delivery but the precocious Clifford collected before selling a couple of dummies and putting the ball on a plate for Bryan Sweeney to finish to the net. Dara Moynihan rapidly added another point before Clifford provided the final ball for Sean O'Shea to slot home.
Cork then settled and, with the Kerry defence showing traits of indiscipline, Damien Gore kept Cork in touch with four frees - and then Mark Buckley scored a super goal.
Brian Friel, Clifford and Moynihan ensured that Kerry led 2-7 to 1-6 at the interval but Colm O'Callaghan, with a goal and a point, levelled the contest by the 33rd minute - only for Clifford to push Kerry two clear again with a brace of points.
Buckley then fired home Cork's third goal in the 47th minute but, from the kick out, Clifford rounded his marker to score a spectacular goal.
Kerry were two in front and finished the stronger, extending their lead to six - with Clifford's injury time long-range point drawing gasps from the crowd.
Scorers - Kerry: D Clifford (1-5, 0-2 frees), S O Shea (1-4, '45, 0-2 frees), B Sweeney (1-0), M Foley and D Moynihan 0-2 each, B Friel 0-1. Cork: M Buckley (2-2), D Gore (0-4 frees), C O Callaghan (1-0), C Maguire (0-2)
Kerry: B Courtney; M Reidy, N Collins, G O'Sullivan; M Potts, D O'Brien, M Foley; M Breen, M Ryan; D Moynihan, S O'Shea, D O'Connor; D Clifford, B Sweeney, B Friel. Subs: D Naughton for M Reidy (h/t), C Linnane for B Sweeney (41), D Shaw for B Friel (44), C Teahan for M Ryan (56), S Okunbar for M Foley (60), F O'Brien for D O'Connor (60)
Cork: M White; A McCarthy, A Browne, L O'Donovan; T Corkery, N Walsh, R O'Driscoll; J Ryan, S Ryan; S O'Sullivan, C O'Callaghan, C Maguire; D Gore, M Buckley, K O'Donovan.
Subs: C Foley for J Ryan (h/t), S O'Driscoll for S O'Sullivan (48), G O'Donoghue for S Ryan (52), S Minihane for L O'Donovan (56), C O'Mahony for T Corkery (58)
Ref: A Kissane (Waterford)