/ GAA

Cork 1-16 Kerry 1-11

Updated: Wednesday, 06 Aug 2008 02:44

Michael Cussen and Pearse O'Neill celebrate at the final whistle
Michael Cussen and Pearse O'Neill celebrate at the final whistle

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Cork produced a sensational second half performance at Páirc Uí Chaoimh this afternoon to claim a second Munster Senior Football Championship crown in three seasons.

The Rebels gained a huge measure of revenge for last September’s All-Ireland final mauling against lacklustre Kerry by overturning a massive eight-point half-time deficit to win by five against the Kingdom in front of 22,784 specators on Leeside.

Cork, despite losing midfielder Nicholas Murphy to a second yellow card four minutes after half-time, outscored Kerry 1-13 to 0-03 in the second half after the All-Ireland champions had opened up a 1-08 to 0-03 interval lead.

Senior Championship debutant Donncha Walsh scored the 14th-minute goal as he palmed home a Kieran Donaghy pass and Kerry were in cruise control from that moment until the break.

Cork looked down and out but the half-time introduction of the towering Michael Cussen was an inspired move by manager Conor Counihan.

The Kerry defence simply could not cope with the 6' 6" attacker and the Gleann Maghair clubman connected with Ger Spillane’s 49th-minute delivery to drag Cork back into contention.

Now trailing by 1-10 to 1-08, the pendulum took another massive swing in Cork’s direction when Kerry corner-back Marc Ó Sé was shown a straight red card by referee Derek Fahy for a touchline challenge on Seán O’Brien in the 52nd minute.

It appeared a harsh dismissal but there was no doubting Daniel Goulding’s subsequent free which was swung magnificently over the bar from 40 metres under the covered stand.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, Cussen was fouled which allowed Goulding to level the scores at 1-10 apiece and with huge momentum behind them, Cork appeared the most likely winners.

Seán O’Sullivan hit back with a 57th-minute point for Kerry but that was their final score of the game as Cork reeled off five unanswered points before the finish, including one sensational long range effort from substitute James Masters.

Indeed, every one of Cork’s four subs made a scoring contribution as Masters, Fintan Goold and Paul Kerrigan kicked a point each, adding to Cussen’s 1-01 haul.

Kerry’s misery was complete two minutes from time when another of the Ó Sé brothers, midfielder Darragh, received a second yellow card for an innocuous looking tussle with Pearse O’Neill.
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Fahy booked Ó Sé for a push on O’Neill as the pair contested a dropping ball and the Kerry man trudged off having been earlier booked and subsequently ‘ticked’.

Kerry badly missed their combative captain Paul Galvin, suspended for six months, while the injured Declan O’Sullivan was another notable absentee from the half-forward line.

All three of Kerry’s half-forwards were withdrawn before the finish and Kingdom boss Pat O’Shea has plenty to ponder upon as his charges prepare for the qualifiers.

However, the scenic route proved successful for the Kingdom in 2006 as they bounced back from a replayed Munster final defeat against Cork to claim the Sam Maguire Cup.

In the provincial final replay two years ago, Cork's Graham Canty suffered serious cruciate knee ligament damage which ended his season, and unconfirmed reports from the Rebels' dressing room suggested that the team captain may have sustained similar damage once again after leaving the field injured nine minutes after half-time.

Cork: A Quirke; D Duggan, G Canty, K O’Connor; B O’Regan, G Spillane, A Lynch; A O’Connor, D Kavanagh; N Murphy, P O’Neill, S O’Brien; D Goulding (0-07, 5f), D O’Connor (0-04, 2f), J Hayes (0-01).

Substitutes: M Cussen (1-01) for O’Connor (H/T), F Goold (0-01) for Canty (injured - 44m), J Masters (0-01) for O’Brien (54m), P Kerrigan (0-01) for Goulding (70m).

Kerry: D Murphy, M O’Sé, T O’Sullivan, P Reidy; T O’Sé (0-01), A O’Mahony, K Young; D O’Sé (0-01); D Walsh (1-01), E Brosnan, S O’Sullivan (0-02); C Cooper (0-03, 2f), K Donaghy, B Sheehan (0-03f).

Substitutes: Darren O’Sullivan for D Walsh (43m), T Griffin for Brosnan (59m), T Walsh for S O’Sullivan (65m).

Referee: D Fahy (Longford).