Kerry defeat Cork to claim Munster title

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side allow Cork back into the contest in second half but hold on to lift trophy

Kerry’s Colm Cooper celebrates scoring his goal against Cork. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Kerry’s Colm Cooper celebrates scoring his goal against Cork. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Kerry 1-16 Cork 0-17: It wasn’t quite as convincing as it once threatened to be but Kerry have won back the Munster football title, beating old rivals Cork at a packed and hot Fitzgerald Stadium, in front of a virtual capacity of 36,370.

The warning signs were there from the start as Kerry opened up with far greater pace, and space – breaking into scoring positions with impressive ease. Darran O’Sullivan quickly justified his selection ahead of Kieran Donaghy, with Declan O’Sullivan and James O’Donoghue also scoring sweet points from play – before Colm “Gooch” rattled the net on 30 minutes, helping Kerry 1-10 to 0-6 half-time advantage.

Cork were the defending Munster champions, but were seeking their first win over Kerry in the final since 2008 – and first win in Killarney since 1995. Perhaps motivated by that stat they rallied in the second half, points from Brian Hurley, James Loughrey and Aidan Walsh – and three frees from Daniel Goulding – reducing the gap back to three points, 1-14 to 0-14, with just five minutes to play.

Bryan Sheehan helped ease Kerry tension, and although late points from Loughrey and Hurley kept in interesting until the death, before Peter Crowley’s late point restored Kerry’s lead to three points.

Cork might well have snatched a draw when Hurley’s last gasp shot in front of goal forced a good save from Brendan Kealy, and a late 45-metre free for Goulding, but there was no denying Kerry in the end, clearly the better team on the day.

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