Saturday 17 February 2018

David Moran drives Kingdom as Cork run out of ideas

KERRY 1-11 CORK 1-6

David Moran, Kerry, in action against Fintan Goold, Cork during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay, Kerry v Cork (Brendan Moran / Sportsfile)
David Moran, Kerry, in action against Fintan Goold, Cork during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay, Kerry v Cork (Brendan Moran / Sportsfile)
James O’Donoghue, Kerry, in action against Stephen Cronin, Cork during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay
David Moran, Kerry, in action against Brian O’Driscoll, Cork
Kevin O’Driscoll, Cork, scores a point despite the attention of Paul Geaney, Kerry.

Colm Keys in Killarney

David Moran inspired Kerry to a third successive Munster football title and a 77th in all with a midfield tour de force in this Killarney replay.

Under a darkening sky and in really challenging conditions, Moran delivered a performance similar to last year's All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo.

With Anthony Maher on his shoulder, control at midfield was the key to Kerry improvement on the drawn game when Alan O'Connor had been so dominant.

But the collective effort of their defence was also crucial,especially against the wind in the second half when they restricted Cork to just two points.

Shane Enright had a great match on Brian Hurley while Paul Murphy and Jonathan Lyne also stood up and were counted. Kerry held Cork scoreless for the last 25 minutes as the Rebels failed to sustain their challenge.

The weather conditions made it difficult for any fluid football so wind-assisted Kerry largely overlooked the search for finesse and landed ball after ball into Kieran Donaghy in the first half to see what chaos they could cause beneath them.

Donaghy had his successes but Cork were able to put out enough fires too with Eoin Cadogan's pre-match replacement Jamie O'Sullivan managing to cope well before Kerry withdrew their captain on 44 minutes, sending in Colm Cooper with a clear change of emphasis in mind.

Cooper brought calm to Kerry and was much more involved than he had been in his 28 minutes or so two weeks earlier.

Bryan Sheehan's free-taking in the first half was a stand-out feature but so too was Moran's influence which grew as the game progressed and the conditions worsened and consequently Alan O'Connor wasn't nearly as prominent. With Maher working well, Kerry looked to have built a solid platform, 0-7 to 0-4, by the 27th minute.

But the heart of Kerry's defence was vulnerable in the drawn game and that weak point was exposed once again when a stray Aidan O'Mahony crossfield kick went out over the sideline, creating the turnover for Cork to press through Kevin O'Driscoll and Donncha O'Connor with Colm O'Neill putting in Paul Kerrigan for a cracking 32nd-minute goal.

A fifth Sheehan free after Moran was fouled just before the break gave Kerry a 0-8 to 1-4 interval lead but they looked under pressure.

Mark Collins was deployed as Cork's sweeper, the role he took up after Kerrigan's black card the last day, and with Brian O'Driscoll they were highly effective in taking the game to Kerry.

For much of the third quarter Kerry looked there for the taking. O'Neill drew Cork level with a fine point off his right foot, Jonathan Lyne surged forward to put Kerry ahead again before Collins put in Kevin O'Driscoll to energise Cork.

But just when they looked like taking a firm grip, Kerry struck. A needless free conceded for a foul on Moran saw Cooper deliver quickly to Donnchadh Walsh whose shot was blocked by Cork goalkeeper Kevin O'Halloran.

But the break fell kindly for Paul Geaney and he had the patience to find the net and give Kerry a precious 1-9 to 1-6 lead on 49 minutes. They controlled the game most impressively from then on, holding a Cork team rapidly running out of ideas scoreless. Kerry substitute Stephen O'Brien was red-carded late on after a second yellow.

Kerry now meet the winners of Westmeath and Fermanagh in an All-Ireland quarter-final, Cork have Kildare in a qualifier next weekend.

Scorers - Kerry: P Geaney 1-3 (1f), B Sheehan 0-5 (5fs), J O'Donoghue, D Walsh, J Lyne all 0-1 each. Cork: P Kerrigan 1-0, C O'Neill 0-3 (1f, 1 '45), K O'Driscoll, D O'Connor (f), Brian O'Driscoll all 0-1 each.

Kerry: B Kealy; S Enright, A O'Mahony, M ó Sé; J Lyne, P Murphy, K Young; D Moran, A Maher; D Walsh, B Sheehan, J Buckley; J O'Donoghue, K Donaghy, P Geaney. Subs: M Geaney for Buckley (29), C Cooper for Donaghy (44), S O'Brien for Sheehan (57), P Galvin for Walsh (66), P Crowley for Young (68).

Cork: K O'Halloran; M Shields, J O'Sullivan, J Loughrey; Brian O'Driscoll, S Cronin, M Collins; Barry O'Driscoll, A O'Connor; K O'Driscoll; P Kelly, D O'Connor; P Kerrigan, C O'Neill, B Hurley. Subs: F Goold for D O'Connor (47), C Dorman for K O'Driscoll (54), D Goulding for Kelly (59), BJ Keane for P Geaney (62), T Clancy for Barry O'Driscoll (66), J Hayes for Hurley (67).

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)

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