By Michael Moynihan, Mallow
Cork 1-20 Kerry 0-18
No upsets in Mallow, with Cork winning this Munster Senior Hurling League clash with Kerry handily.
Cork started Conor Lehane instead of Brian Lawton, and the Midleton man lit up the early proceedings with three fine points, one from a free. As expected, the home side were sharper and settled quickly, running up a 0-5 to nil score in the opening ten minutes.
When Kerry settled they had Michael O'Leary's industry to thank. The full-forward was playing a withdrawn role, giving Cork a numerical advantage in the full-back line, but O'Leary's brace and two Shane Nolan frees back in the game.
Unfortunately for Kerry, however, a Luke O'Farrell goal for Cork on eleven minutes split those scores, which meant it was 1-6 to 0-6 at the end of the first quarter.
With Lehane and Dean Brosnan seeing plenty of the ball in midfield, Cork dominated for ten minutes, hitting four points - Brian Moylan, Brosnan (two) and Lehane - but Kerry impressed in the run-in to the break.
A neat point by Colm Harty was augmented by two Nolan frees, leaving the score 1-11 to 0-9 at the half, and Kerry well in the hunt.
Kerry kept pace with Cork early in the second half, the sides going point for point, but two points by Seamus Harnedy and an Alan Cadogan effort pushed them 1-18 to 0-14 ahead at the three-quarter mark. Colm Harty and Michael O’Leary had points before sub Mikey Boyle won a penalty for Kerry.
It was the Kingdom’s chance to spring a surprise, but Cork ‘keeper Declan Dalton saved Shane Nolan’s effort comfortably.
Cork were never troubled afterwards, though there was one more twist when, with three minutes left, Cadogan and Darren Dineen saw straight reds after a brief flare-up in the Kerry goal.
Scorers for Cork: C. Lehane (0-6, 2 frees), L. O’Farrell (1-3); S. Harnedy (0-4, 2 frees); B. Moylan (1 free), D. Brosnan, A. Cadogan (0-2 each); C. O’Leary (0-1).
Scorers for Kerry: S. Nolan (frees), M. O’Leary (0-5); C. Harty (0-3); P. Lucid (0-2); B. O’Leary, J. Conway, J. Goulding (0-1 each).
CORK: D. Dalton, C. Buckley, C. Barry, D. Browne, M. O'Keeffe, D. Cahalane, B. Moylan, C. Lehane, D. Brosnan, C. Cormack, S. Harnedy, P. O'Rourke, T. O'Mahony, L. O'Farrell, C. O'Leary.
Subs: A. Cadogan for O’Leary, C. O’Sullivan for Browne (HT); A. Dennehy for O’Keeffe, W. Leahy for O’Mahony (47); L. Meade for Lehane (63).
KERRY: M. Stackpoole, S. Weir, B. Murphy, D. Fitzelle, D. Collins ( c), D. Dineen, J. Diggins, P. O'Connor, P. Lucid, C. Harty, B. O'Leary, S. Nolan, K. Carmody, M. O'Leary, J. Conway.
Subs: J. O’Connor for P. O’Connor, M. Boyle for Carmody (46); T. Murnane for Fitzelle (56); J. Goulding for Nolan (63).
Referee: R. McGann (Clare).