Kerry 0-11 Cork 0-7, Tralee
Kerry made it back-to-back wins in Allianz Football League Division 1 by seeing off arch rivals Cork by 0-11 to 0-7 in Tralee.
A blustery wind dominated proceedings in the first half, with free-taker Johnny Buckley edging Kerry into a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead.
Semi-final hopefuls Cork stayed in the hunt until Kerry went on a five-point scoring run, aided by substitutes Colm Cooper and Paul Galvin.
Mark Griffin impressed at full-back for the Kingdom, with Buckley scoring 0-6 in all.
Cork, missing cruciate injury victim Colm O’Neill, made two late changes with John McLoughlin and Alan O’Connor replacing Eoin O’Mahony and Graham Canty.
Andrew O’Sullivan clipped over the opening point after initial wides from Anthony Maher and Paudie Kissane, with a swirling wind proving problematic for both sides.
Buckley, having missed his first free, made no mistake with the second in the eighth minute as Kerry sought to break down the swarming Cork defence.
The Rebels retook the lead courtesy of an Aidan Walsh effort, with Daniel Goulding, making his first start of the season, involved in the build-up.
The strong-running Walsh missed out on a goal soon after, his powerful shot being directed wide by Griffin’s outstretched leg.
Kerry were creating more scoring changes, but Darran O’Sullivan shot their fourth wide and target man Kieran Donaghy was being crowded out.
Kerry’s captain for the day, Kieran O’Leary, was brought down for a free which Buckley stuck over for a 0-2 apiece scoreline in the 18th minute.
Missed frees from Aidan Walsh and Buckley followed, before Fintan Goold struck a superb left-footed point for Cork’s third score from play - but it proved to be their last of the half.
Buckley judged the wind impressively to float over his third pointed free, and two minutes later Anthony Maher finally opened Kerry’s account from play.
Kerry had opportunities to add to their advantage, but Declan O’Sullivan was wayward from a difficult free and Jonathan Lyne had a point attempt blocked.
The performance of St. Michael’s/Foilmore clubman Griffin at full-back was a huge plus for Kerry. He was assured in dealing with the threat of Barry O’Driscoll and proved himself an able deputy for the injured Aidan O’Mahony.
But Kerry’s low-scoring rate - a feature throughout their previous league games - continued to be a concern for manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice until that match-winning spell in the second period.
He will have been pleased to see Buckley make it 0-5 to 0-3 on the restart, the Dr. Crokes clubman lobbing over his fourth free.
Both Fitzmaurice and his Cork counterpart Conor Counihan kept their teams in for longer than usual at half-time, leading to referee Cormac Reilly demanding their returns.
Goold got Cork back in scoring form, doubling his tally after Donaghy and Darran O’Sullivan had failed to convert at the other end.
Buckley answered back with a free from the hands, after Donnchadh Walsh drew a foul, and as the tempo increased in cold conditions Tomás Clancy added his name to the Cork scoresheet.
Kerry had a near miss when Paul Kerrigan rattled the crossbar, but the momentum was with the Kingdom over the next five to ten minutes.
Killian Young drove forward for a point and skipper O’Leary became the first Kerry forward to score from play in the 52nd minute.
The timely introductions of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper and Paul Galvin boosted the hosts further.
A punched point from Galvin, following on from Buckley’s sixth pointed free, quickly made it 0-10 to 0-5 and Cork, now looking sluggish, seemed rudderless.
Cooper, playing on the forty, was showing some excellent distribution skills and he played in Donaghy for Kerry’s eleventh and final point.
It was turgid fare at times but Kerry showed more quality when it mattered most and Barry O’Driscoll’s two late frees, either side of a dust-up between the players, were mere consolation scores.
KERRY: Brendan Kealy; Marc Ó Sé, Mark Griffin, Shane Enright; Tomás Ó Sé, Killian Young (0-1), Brian McGuire; Anthony Maher (0-1), Johnny Buckley (0-6, 0-6f); Jonathan Lyne, Donnchadh Walsh, Kieran O’Leary (0-1); Declan O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy (0-1), Darran O’Sullivan.
Subs used: Paul Galvin (0-1) for O’Leary, Colm Cooper for Walsh (both 52 mins), James O’Donoghue for Darran O’Sullivan (60), Fionn Fitzgerald for Lyne (63), Peter Crowley for Tomás Ó Sé (68).
CORK: Ken O'Halloran; Michael Shields, John McLoughlin, Jamie O'Sullivan; Paudie Kissane, Noel O'Leary, Tomás Clancy (0-2); Aidan Walsh (0-1), Alan O’Connor; Fintan Goold (0-1), Mark Collins, Andrew O'Sullivan (0-1); Daniel Goulding, Barry O'Driscoll (0-2, 0-2f), Paul Kerrigan.
Subs used: Pearse O’Neill for O’Connor (half-time), Liam Shorten for Goulding (51 mins), Brian Shanahan for O’Leary (59), James Fitzpatrick for Kerrigan (63), Denis Crowley for Collins (68).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)