Kerry won their 67th Munster senior football title following a 0-19 to 1-13 victory over Cork in an exciting and tough battle at Páirc Uí Chaoimh this afternoon. Páidí Ó'Sé's men now progress to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, thanks largely to star performances from forwards Dara Ó'Cinnéide and Johnny Crowley.
Cork had a blistering start and quickly exposed the Kerry back-line, scoring a goal and two points inside four minutes. Two frees from Colin Corkery in the second and third minute and a goal from Joe Kavanagh stunned Kerry, but the reigning All-Ireland champions finally settled and scored five points without reply in the following seven minutes. Ó'Cinnéide kicked three frees, while John Crowley and Mike Frank Russell scored two points from play to level the score at 0-05 to 1-03.
Kerry's resurgence continued thanks to the midfield dominance of Dara Ó'Sé and Donal Daly, and a well-taken point from Noel Kennelly put Páidí Ó'Sé's men in front for the first time in the game. Cork scored their first point in 13 minutes with a free from the impressive Corkery to restore parity before Crowley put Kerry back in the lead a minute later.
Ó'Cinnéide opened the gap to two points before Corkery scored two great points from play to level the scores again, but another free from Ó'Cinnéide and a third point from Crowley gave The Kingdom the advantage with 28 minutes gone. The in-form Corkery scored another great point from play to come within a point, and the sides were level for the fourth time when Kavanagh added a point to his earlier goal in the 34th minute following a great solo run by Sexton. Ó'Cinnéide and Clifford then exchanged points to keep the sides level at 1-08 to 0-11 at half-time.
After the interval, Crowley and Fionan Murray exchanged points before Maurice Fitzgerald was substituted by Eoin Brosnan. Controversy followed when Daly scored a point for Kerry while the fouled Michael O'Sullivan was on the ground, for which Dara Ó Sé received a yellow card. Kerry's lead was stretched to three points with another free from Ó'Cinnéide and a point from substitute Brosnan to lead 0-15 to 1-09.
Another great point from play from Corkery gave Cork their first point in 13 minutes before Aodhan MacGearailt scored his first point of the match to keep the three-point advantage. The match remained watertight and points from Corkery and sub Aidan Dorgan brought the deficit back to one point, but four minutes later a converted free from Ó'Cinnéide edged Kerry ahead 0-17 to 1-12.
However, a minute later Brendan Ger O'Sullivan clawed Cork back to within a point, but points from Mike Frank Russell and a ninth point from Ó'Cinnéide kept the three point advantage for Kerry to leave the full-time score-line at 0-19 to 1-13. Cork will get a second chance and go into tonight's All-Ireland qualifier draw, which will be made live on The Sunday Game on Network 2. The programme starts at 9.05pm.
Meanwhile, Kerry's minors began the day in the same style their senior counterparts ended it with a 0-15 to 0-12 victory over Cork.
Filed by Sinéad Kissane