Kerry 1-11 Cork 1-06
Colm Cooper came off the bench to set up the crucial score of the game as All-Ireland champions Kerry captured their 77th Munster SFC crown in a replay played in a downpour at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.
Cooper dispatched a quick free which led to Paul Geaney finding the net and taking the sting out of the Cork challenge after another good contest.
The goal pushed the Kingdom three points in front and Cork never recovered and did not score again after that.
Indeed, they managed only two points in the second-half and went scoreless from the 46th minute to the end and will now need to regroup for the qualifiers.
The accuracy of Bryan Sheehan was decisive in Kerry opening up a 0-07 to 0-04 lead after half an hour, but they were rocked when Cork countered and Colm O’Neill set up Paul Kerrigan and he blasted to the net for the seventh goal the Kingdom have conceded in this year’s championship.
Sheehan edged the Kingdom back in front just before the interval with his fifth free to lead by 0-08 to 1-04 at the break.
O’Neill had given Cork a good start with the opening point after two minutes before Donnchadh Walsh and Sheehan got the All-Ireland champions ahead.
Donncha O’Connor tied the sides with a free and they were level four times during the opening half as the huge crowd of 32,233 enjoyed the exchanges despite the constant wind and rain.
Paul Geaney landed two good points for Kerry but O’Neill and Brian O’Driscoll responded for the Rebels to tie the sides again after 17 minutes.
Three frees in-a-row from Sheehan saw Kerry open up a lead but then O’Neill put Kerrigan through and he shot home a fine goal.
O’Neill tied the match four minutes after the restart before wing-back Jonathan Lyne went forward to edge Kerry back in front.
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice then introduced Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper for Kieran Donaghy, but it was Cork who levelled when Kevin O’Driscoll landed an excellent effort from 45 metres to tie the sides a sixth time.
But then Cooper made an immediate impact, taking a quick free which put Donnchadh Walsh through and while his effort was saved by Ken O’Halloran, the rebound fell to Paul Geaney and he sidestepped Michael Shields to shoot to the net from close range.
That put the Kingdom 1-09 to 1-06 in front with 20 minutes remaining and they expected that lead with efforts from Paul Geaney and James O’Donoghue to lead by five.
Kerry drafted in Paul Galvin for his first action in almost two years when he came on for Walsh four minutes from time as Kerry supporters began celebrating the retention of their Munster crown.
However, they finished with 14 when Stephen O’Brien picked up a second yellow card in the closing stages.
KERRY: B Kealy; M Ó Sé, A O’Mahony, S Enright; J Lyne (0-01), K Young, P Murphy; A Maher, D Moran; J Buckley, B Sheehan (0-05, 0-05f), D Walsh (0-01); P Geaney (1-03, 0-01f), K Donaghy, J O’Donoghue (0-01).
Subs: M Geaney for Buckley (30 mins), C Cooper for Donaghy (45 mins), S O’Brien for Sheehan (58 mins), P Galvin for Walsh (66 mins).
CORK: K O’Halloran; M Shields, J O'Sullivan, J Loughrey; Barry O’Driscoll, Brian O’Driscoll (0-01), S Cronin; A O’Connor, P Kelly; P Kerrigan (1-00), D O’Connor (0-01, 0-01f), K O’Driscoll (0-01); C O’Neill (0-03, 0-02f), M Collins, B Hurley.
Subs: F Goold for D O’Connor (47 mins), D Goulding for Kelly (55 mins), J Hayes for Hurley (67 mins).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)