Cork 0-11 Kerry 1-20
By Tony Leen, Pairc Ui Rinn
A 42nd Munster Junior football title for Kerry, but such are the idiosyncrasies of the grade that most of the 1,300 observers at Pairc Ui Rinn Wednesday night came searching for diamonds in the rough.
For the victors, there was a clutch of luminaries, including a six-point haul from their free-moving centre-forward Jeff O'Donoghue, and the lightning quick corner-forward Thomas Hickey.
Kudos, too, to Kerry's management which culled both its starting midfielders at a point in the game when they had lost the control given them by a five-point start. In came Listry's Gary O'Sullivan and James Walsh was shifted from wing back to midfield with telling effect.
Cork’s Michael O’Leary leaps for the ball, ahead of Brendan O’Sullivan.
In their best spell, which amounted to the second quarter of the game when Cork registered eight points, the hosts got the bit between their teeth, led by midfielders Micheal O Laoire and Cillian Brosnan, and forwards Mark Sugrue and Seamus Hickey.
But a cursory glance at the starting line-ups suggested Kerry had a better depth of talent. At least six of the starting 15 have been in with the Kingdom's seniors in the last 12 months, and once they righted the ship at the break, Kerry moved up a gear.
The yo yo nature of the Munster Junior final continues Cork now lead by 0-9 to 0-7 after points by Jeff O'Donoghue and Conor Cox— Sylvester Hennessy (@Slyone1069) July 1, 2015
In fact, Cork claimed only one second half point before a late flurry of scores in dead time. By that time, Jeff O'Donoghue had taken the game by the scruff of the neck for the Kingdom, claiming six points from play.
When Brian Crowley was fouled in the square on 49 minutes, Conor Cox netted the penalty to put this one to bed. The Listowel man finished with 1-7.
If Cork died fast in the second period, they were full of vigour before the break. Thirteen minutes in, you'd have given little for Cork's dignity, much less their chances.
With Thomas Hickey buzzing around the visitors' attack - necessitating a 7th minute substitution by Cork - the Kingdom were scoring at will. A searing run from David Culhane set up James Walsh who cracked a bullet off the crossbar. From the rebound Brian Crowley gave Kerry a three point start, and two more followed from Jeff and Alan O'Donoghue.
The first murmurs of embarrassment could be detected amongst the Rebel loyalists.
However, a resurrection was stirring, started by Mark Sugrue, added to by Brian Coughlan and then carried forward by midfielders Micheal O Laoire and Cillian Brosnan.
By the 22nd minute, the sides were level, but Cork powered on, with Seamus Hickey giving them to lead, and Sugrue embellishing their half-time advantage of 0-8 to 0-5.
The Kerry dressing room must have resembled a tribunal of inquiry. But once the established some control at midfield after half-time, a second junior title on the trot was never in doubt.
Scorers for Cork: M Sugrue (0-4, 3 frees), M O Laoire (0-2), C Brosnan, S Hickey, B Coughlan, S Kiely, P. Condon (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kerry: C Cox (1-7, 1-0 pen, 1 free, 1 45), J O'Donoghue (0-6), B Crowley, T Hickey (0-2 each), A. O'Donoghue, G.O'Sullivan, E Kiely (0-1 each).
CORK: A Seymour (Castlehaven); AJ O'Connor (Kiskeam), D Murphy (Ballincollig), J McLoughlin (Kanturk); S Kiely (Macroom), J Collins (St Mary's), B. Daly (Newmarket); M O'Leary (Naomh Aban), C Brosnan (Brian Dillons); J Corkery (Aghabullogue), B Coughlan (Kinsale), M Sugrue (Bandon); A. O'Connor (Knocknagree), S Hickey (Rockchapel), A Barry (Glanmire).
Subs: F Herlihy (Mitchelstown) for AJ O'Connor (7 mins); P Condon (Mayfield) for Barry (38); P Daly (St Mary's) for Collins (44); R O'Hagan (Fermoy) for A. O'Connor (51); J Ryan (Newmarket) for Murphy (54).
KERRY: S Murphy (Kilcummin); D O'Donoghue (Spa), J McGuire (Listowel), D Culhane (Ballylongford); J Walsh (Knocknagoshel), T Morley (Templenoe), G Crowley (Templenoe); B O'Sullivan (Valentia), L Kearney (Spa); B Crowley (Templenoe), J. O'Donoghue (Glenflesk), P. O'Connor (Cordal); A. O'Donoghue (John Mitchels), C Cox (Listowel), T Hickey (Desmonds).
Subs: G O'Sullivan (Listry) for Kearney (25); E Kiely (Brosna) for O'Sullivan (36); A Barry (Brosna) for B Crowley (54); M Brennan (Churchill) for O'Donoghue (58); G Gibson (Waterville) for G Crowley (59); D Griffin (Ardfert) for J O'Donoghue (59).
Referee: A Kissane (Waterford).