Kerry made it six Munster Senior Football titles in a row in emphatic fashion at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening as they enjoyed a 17-point winning margin against Cork.
Victory was more or less assured for Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side when Paul Geaney scored the first of his two goals just two minutes after half-time, but the seeds were sown in a dominant period in the first half once a strong Cork start had been weathered.
The hosts moved wing-forward Ruairí Deane into full-forward from the start and it was a switch which paid dividends in the form of two early goals. In the third minute, he won Seán White’s delivery and passed across for full-back Jamie O’Sullivan – who had advanced from full-back – to palm home.
O’Sullivan crashed into the post in the act of scoring, necessitating three minutes off as he was treated for a blood injury, and by the time he returned Cork were behind as David Clifford’s point was followed by a Stephen O’Brien goal, a great finish after David Moran found him in space after winning a mark.
Paul Geaney looked to have put Kerry in control at 1-02 to 1-00 ahead but back Cork came. Tomás Clancy was the provider for Deane on this occasion and again he showed good awareness to feed Mark Collins, who had an easy finish.
Luke Connolly made it 2-01 to 1-02, but Cork wouldn’t score again until the 11th minute of the second half, with Kerry putting together an unanswered 1-10 in between. James O’Donoghue, Geaney, Clifford and Paul Murphy – pushed up on Cork sweeper Stephen Cronin – all had scores while Cork lost Sam Ryan and Deane to black cards with O’Brien similarly dismissed for Kerry.
A good Kevin Crowley block denied O’Donoghue another Kerry goal chance and at the other end Connolly almost set up Collins for another for Cork, but the visitors were well in control as O’Donoghue’s point left the 1-11 to 2-01 in front at half-time.
Brian Hurley and Peter Kelleher were added to the Cork attack for the second half, but it was Kerry who got a goal, Geaney slotting home after good work from sub Kevin McCarthy, while Seán O’Shea sent a 45 over the bar.
Connolly did end Cork’s drought with a free, but Kerry had four more points in a row in response, the fourth an O’Shea 45 after Mark White had saved from sub Barry John Keane. A third goal did eventually come near the end, McCarthy again providing the assist, while Keane rounded off the rout at the death.
Kerry: Shane Murphy; Jason Foley, Paul Murphy (0-02), Tadhg Morley; Brian Ó Beaglaioch, Peter Crowley, Gavin White (0-01); David Moran, Jack Barry; Micheál Burns, Seán O’Shea (0-04, 0-02 45, 0-01f), Stephen O’Brien (1-00); David Clifford (0-02), Paul Geaney (2-05), James O’Donoghue (0-03, 0-01f).
Subs: Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin) for O’Brien (25, black card), Darran O’Sullivan for Burns (half-time), Mark Griffin for Foley (54), Kieran Donaghy for Clifford (55), Barry John Keane (0-01) for O’Donoghue (59), Killian Young for Morley (65).
Cork: Mark White; Kevin Crowley, Jamie O’Sullivan, Sam Ryan; Stephen Cronin, Kevin Flahive, Tomás Clancy; Aidan Walsh, Ian Maguire; Kevin O’Driscoll, Seán White, John O’Rourke; Mark Collins (1-01), Ruairí Deane, Luke Connolly (0-02, 0-01f).
Subs: Brian O’Driscoll for O’Sullivan (3-6, blood), James Loughrey for Ryan (21, black card), Paul Kerrigan for Deane (35, black card), Peter Kelleher (0-01) for O’Rourke, Brian Hurley for Kevin O’Driscoll (both half-time), Brian O’Driscoll for Cronin (58), Colm O’Neill for Walsh (59).
Referee: Ciarán Branagan (Down).