Cork and Kerry played out a thrilling John Kerins U20 Cup League draw in Clonakilty this evening.
The Carbery Division’s desire to host a senior inter-county championship game in west Cork gained traction following the successful staging of a Cork and Kerry U20 Cup football development league encounter.
Clonakilty GAA’s Ahamilla complex attracted a large attendance for a Munster derby in which both teams contributed to a quality encounter.
Cork led 0-11 to 0-7 at the break before Jack O’Connor’s side dominated the third quarter and Michael Potts’ goal edged Kerry a point in front after 42 minutes.
A frantic finale saw Sean Quilter’s free precede an injury-time Jack Murphy effort to earn Cork a draw. It was a performance and result that pleased the Rebels’ manager.
“It was a good game of football but both teams have work to do,” Cork’s Keith Ricken admitted.
“I saw spirit and honesty from the guys wearing the Cork jersey tonight. A lot of people are talking about the state of Cork football but there are very good footballers in this county. There are very good people involved with the senior, junior and minor setups and we have a good bunch of people here with the U20’s.
Mitchelstown full-forward Cathal O’Mahony was the best player on view and kicked nine points while his opposite number, Donal O’Sullivan (0-7) provided the bulk of the Kingdom’s total.
Kerry led 1-14 to 0-15 with 12 minutes remaining when Brian Hartnett reduced the deficit. Eddie Horan restored the visitors’ two-point advantage before a vociferous crowd got behind the Cork team.
Consecutive Blake Murphy and Cathal O’Mahony white flags levelled matters but a late Sean Quilter free looked to have won it for Kerry. Deep into injury-time, Éire Óg’s Jack Murphy fisted the ball over the bar to earn Cork a deserved draw.
Next up for Keith Ricken’s squad is a trip to Laois for a John Kerins U20 Cup league encounter with Dublin on Saturday.
Scorers for Cork: C O’Mahony (0-9, 2 frees), C Barrett (1 free) and M Cronin (0-2 each), M Hodnett, P O’Driscoll, S Meehan, B Hartnett, B Murphy and J Murphy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kerry: D O’Sullivan (0-7, 5 frees), F Clifford (0-4), S Quilter (0-2, 1 free), M Potts (1-0), P Walsh, P O’Shea and E Horan (0-1 each).
CORK: J O’Keeffe (Newmarket); M O’Mahony (Knocknagree), M Shanley (Clonakilty), P Ring (Aghabullogue); G O’Donovan (Newcestown), S Hickey (Millstreet), S Meehan (Kiskeam); P O’Driscoll (captain, Ilen Rovers), B Hartnett (Douglas); B Murphy (St Vincent’s), M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), M Hodnett (Carbery Rangers); C Barrett (St Finbarrs), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown) and J Kelleher (Canovee).
Subs: J Murphy (Éire Óg) for J Kelleher (ht), M Kelly (Castlemartyr) for C Barrett (50), D O’Connell (Kanturk) for P O’Driscoll (50), J McCarthy (Carrigaline) for G O’Donovan (55, inj), B Hayes (St Finbarrs) for B Murphy (57).
KERRY: B Lonergan (Ballymacelligott); N Donohue (Firies), C O’Donoghue (Glenfesk), M Potts (Dr Crokes); S O’Leary (captain, Kilcummin), P Warren (Gneevgullia), C Gammell (Killarney Legion); J O’Connor (Austin Stacks), P O’Shea (Kilcummin); E Horan (Scartagh Glen), F Clifford (Fánuithe Na Leamhna), K Falvey (Annascaul); S Quilter (Austin Stacks), D O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan) and P Walsh (Brosna).
Subs: S Horan (Scartagh Glen) for K Falvey (ht), B Mahony (St Senan’s) for C O’Donoghue (44), J O’Sullivan (Ballyduff) for P O’Shea (55).
Referee: J Hayes (Limerick).