O'Connor proves super-sub for Kingdom
Munster MFC semi-final: Kerry 1-11 Cork 1-10
Kerry's winning run at this level continued at Austin Stack Park in Tralee last night but it took a tremendous defensive performance late on to suppress a Cork comeback in this thrilling semi-final played in front of 3,772 spectators.
It took a 62nd-minute punched point by sub Jack O'Connor to stretch the Kingdom's unbeaten run in the minor grade to 26 games as they qualified for the Munster final against Clare.
It was an even enough opening half with Cork's midfield of Niall Hartnett and Joseph Harte on top but the young Rebels wasted far too many scoring chances against a leech-like Kerry defence with the notable exception of Conor Corbett, who kicked four first-half points from pay while Aodhán Ó Luasa converted two frees.
The home side got an early goal from Paul Walsh while Dan McCarthy, Darragh Rahilly and Walsh added a point as the sides retired 1-3 to 0-6 at half-time but Cork hit the crossbar through Corbett and Colm Moriarty denied the same player a goal with a brilliant block.
The Kingdom held sway early in the second half with captain Paul O'Shea giving a man of the match display as Kerry - led by Walsh - then hit six unanswered points.
Kerry led by four by Cork refused to give up and a point from Ó Luasa and a well-worked goal from Conor Corbett in the 61st minute looked as if it ensured that extra-time was needed. And then came O'Connor's dramatic winner.
Scorers - Kerry: P Walsh 1-3 (2fs); R Ó Beaglaoich (f), J O'Connor, D McCarthy 0-2 each; D Rahilly and J Kennelly 0-1 each. Cork: C Corbett 1-4, A Ó Luasa 0-4 (fs); N Hartnett, J Kelliher 0-1 each.
Kerry - M Kelliher; C Flannery, K O'Donoghue , D Mangan; C Moriarty, D McCarthy, D Murphy; D Rahilly, D Lyne; P Walsh, P O'Shea , K Falvey ; P D'Arcy , J Kennelly , R Ó Beaglaoich. Subs: Jack O'Connor for D Rahilly (40), D Dineen for J Kennelly (55), S Quilter for P Darcy (55),
Cork - D Doody; D Connolly, D Buckley, C O'Donovan; F Cronin, D Phelan, E Nation; N Hartnett, J Harte; H Murphy, Dara O'Sullivan, E Cooke; S McDonnell, A Ó Luasa, C Corbett. Subs: M O'Neill for S McDonnell (27), J Kelliher for D O'Sullivan (45), G Carey for J Harte (46) R Lombard for H Murphy (55), J O'Shea for C O'Donovan (56)
Ref - S Lonergan (Tipperary)