Tuesday 23 January 2018

O'Shea and Spillane cut loose as Kingdom crush Rebels

Kerry 2-16 Cork 0-6

Micheál Burns of Kerry in action against Kevin O'Donovan, left, and Liam O'Donovan of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Micheál Burns of Kerry in action against Kevin O'Donovan, left, and Liam O'Donovan of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Denis Hurley

A dominant performance from Kerry meant that the last Munster U-21FC decider was very one-sided at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.

In front of 3,861 people, Jack O'Connor's side never trailed at any stage and had four unanswered points on the board inside seven minutes.

Cathal Bambury of Kerry in action against Sean Daly of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cathal Bambury of Kerry in action against Sean Daly of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

While Cork did respond with three in a row to suggest that the outcome might be in question, Kerry's response was emphatic as they would have 1-10 on the board before Cork's third point.

The Kingdom had outstanding performers all over the field. Seán O'Shea and Killian Spillane scored six and five points respectively while Conor Geaney came off the bench to score 1-2 in the second half and Andrew Barry excelled at midfield with Brian Ó Beaglaioch and Tom O'Sullivan driving on to good effect from the half-back line.

Cork, who scored just one point from play, will reflect on how things might have been different if Michael Hurley's early goal effort had gone in rather than hitting the post, but overall there could be no denying Kerry's superiority.

Spillane was very lively early on and though Seán O'Donoghue and Brian Coakley got Cork back into it after Kerry's good start, Ó Beaglaíoch set up Matthew O'Sullivan for a 19th-minute goal for the visitors.

Andrew Barry excelled at midfield. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Andrew Barry excelled at midfield. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

They were six clear at half-time after Spillane and O'Shea pointed, and four in a row on the resumption, from Tom O'Sullivan, O'Shea and Spillane (two) put the game beyond the hosts.

Gary Murphy did open Cork's second-half account in the 38th minute, but a comeback was never going to materialise against a Kerry side featuring 14 starters who had won All-Ireland minor medals across the past three years and for whom Barry was dominating at midfield.

Geaney and Matthew O'Sullivan responded to that and Geaney would have had a goal but for a fine Ross Donovan save.

At the other end, Cork sub Jerry O'Riordan looked like he had netted with 11 minutes left but, illustrating the excellence of his all-round performance, Ó Beaglaioch was there to keep it off the line.

Sean O’Shea of Kerry in action against Aidan Browne of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Sean O’Shea of Kerry in action against Aidan Browne of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

After O'Shea put Kerry 14 points ahead, Geaney capped the win with a lovely finish from Spillane's beautifully lofted pass.

Cork did have late Stephen Sherlock frees, but it was Kerry's night and the Connacht champions, Galway or Sligo, will find them to be stiff opponents.

Scorers - Kerry: S O'Shea 0-6 (3fs, 1 '45'), K Spillane 0-5 (2fs), C Geaney 1-2 (0-1f), M O'Sullivan 1-1, C Bambury, T O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Cork: B Coakley (1f), S Sherlock (2fs) 0-2 each, Gary Murphy, Seán O'Donoghue 0-1f each.

KERRY - S Ryan; J Foley, Tom (Leo) O'Sullivan, B Sugrue; B Ó Beaglaíoch, T O'Sullivan, G White; A Barry, B Ó Seanacháin; B Barrett, S O'Shea, M Flaherty; K Spillane, M O'Sullivan, C Bambury. Subs: J Morgan for Sugrue (16, injured), C Geaney for Bambury (h-t), M Burns for Barrett (45), B O'Sullivan for Flaherty (46), C Coffey for Tom O'Sullivan (50, black card), J Kiely for Matthew O'Sullivan (52).

CORK - R Donovan; S Daly, J Mullins, S Wilson; J O'Riordan, A Browne, C Kiely; E Lavers, S O'Donoghue; G Murphy, S Powter, L O'Donovan; B Coakley , M Dineen, M Hurley. Subs: D Meaney for Dineen (22), S Sherlock for Lavers (h-t), M Buckley for Murphy, K O'Donovan for Browne (both 42), S O'Donovan for Coakley (46), S O'Leary for Daly (57).

Matthew Flaherty of Kerry in action against Cian Kiely of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Matthew Flaherty of Kerry in action against Cian Kiely of Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ref - A Kissane (Waterford).

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