Kerry cruise to fifth straight Munster final victory
KERRY 1-23 CORK 0-15
Kerry cruised to victory over old foes Cork in a one-sided Munster Senior Football Championship final at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.
Paul Geaney and James O'Donoghue did most of the damage for Eamonn Fitzmaurice's men, with the former scoring 1-5 and the latter bagging 0-7.
Kerry went in front after just 12 seconds through a Geaney point and Cork never managed to get back on level terms.
Indeed, the Kingdom were four points ahead after just three minutes with James O'Donoghue and Mikey Geaney opening their accounts and Paul Geaney doubling his tally.
Cork looked nervous and a bit overwhelmed in the opening stages and their fans must have feared the worst.
Gradually, however, Peadar Healy's men worked their way into the game and they created the first goal chance of the match in the 12th minute. Midfielder Ian Maguire ran at the Kerry defence but didn't connect properly with his shot and it was easily stopped by Brian Kelly.
Frees from O'Donoghue and Paul Geaney put Kerry 0-8 to 0-2 ahead after 20 minutes with the Kingdom seemingly in cruise control.
To their credit, the Rebels dug deep and they hit three points in a row through Niall Coakley (0-2) and Maguire to stay in touch.
Kerry missed a goal chance of their own when Paul Geaney's effort was well saved by Cork goalkeeper Ken O'Halloran, but a point from O'Donoghue stretched Kerry's lead to four.
Both sides traded two points each and the Kingdom took a 0-11 to 0-07 lead into the interval.
Just like in the first-half, Kerry blitzed Cork at the beginning of the second period.
Any half-time hopes of a Rebel fightback had evaporated by the 41st minute. By that stage, Kerry had pulled nine points clear through points from David Moran, Paul Murphy, O'Donoghue and substitute Stephen O'Brien (two). Cork also wasted a glorious goal chance during that spell when Tomás Clancy fired into the side netting.
The second half turned into a training session from Kerry as they pulled further and further away from their opponents with ease.
Paul Geaney grabbed the only goal of the game in the 64th minute when a long ball in caused panic in the Cork defence before Geaney pounced on the loose ball to score his seventh Championship goal for Kerry.
Cork offered very little in response, although substitute Donncha O'Connor did his chances of starting their next match no harm with a personal tally of 0-5, including three frees.
Substitutes Johnny Buckley and the ever-reliable Barry John Keane caught the eye for Kerry in the second-half and corner back Shane Enright even helped himself to a rare point as the Kingdom cruised to a 1-23 to 0-15 victory.
Cork will rue four clear goal chances that they wasted, but in truth, there was a gulf in class between the teams and one always felt that Kerry could go up a gear if they had to.
Fitzmaurice will be particularly pleased with his side's accuracy in front of the posts - it took 42 minutes before a Kerry player registered a wide.
The only sour note on an excellent day for the Kingdom was a nasty-looking head injury that caused captain Fionn Fitzgerald to be stretchered off.
Kerry: B Kelly, F Fitzgerald (c), M Griffin, S Enright (0-1), P Crowley, T Morley, P Murphy (0-1), D Moran (0-1), A Maher (0-1), M Geaney (0-2), K McCarthy, D Walsh, P Geaney (1-5), K Donaghy (0-1), J O'Donoghue (0-7)
Subs: S O'Brien (0-3) for D Walsh, J Buckley for K McCarthy, K Young for F Fitzgerald, J Barry for A Maher, B Keane (0-1) for J O'Donoghue, D O'Sullivan for K Donaghy, J Lyne for M Geaney
Cork: K O'Halloran, J Loughrey, J O'Sullivan, S Powter, T Clancy (0-1), M Shields, K Crowley, A Walsh, I Maguire (0-1), R Deane, M Collins (0-2), K O'Driscoll, N Coakley (0-2), L Connolly (0-2), P Kerrigan (c)
Subs: D O'Connor (0-5) for N Coakley, A O'Connor for R Deane, M Hurley for K O'Driscoll, S Cronin for J Loughrey
Referee: P Neilan
Attendance: 31, 836