Over the past two decades Kerry have won 12 titles, Cork won seven with Tipperary breaking the mould with their 1995 success.
Kerry have included players from St. Brendan’s and Tralee CBS who dominated the schools scene in Munster this year. However the champions suffered a major scare when drawing with Limerick in the opening round but showed their potential with a 2-13 to 0-8 victory in the replay.
Kerry coach John Kennedy admitted: “Both struggled in their respective semi-finals, but that will count for nothing tomorrow. When Kerry and Cork get together players on both sides tend to rise their game a couple of notches and I’m expecting a cracking final.
“A Munster final is a massive occasion and there will be a big crowd in for the second half of the game. How players will react will have a big bearing on the outcome.
“The second half of the replay against Limerick saw us at our best. We played some brilliant football and if we can perform like that for the full hour tomorrow, we’ll be very hard to beat.”
Cork coach Mick Evans is in his second term in charge. Last year Tipperary knocked his side out at the semi-final stage. He is hoping for a far better showing from his charges.
“Playing Kerry at any time is always difficult but this final is particularly so because, firstly it’s in their own back yard, and secondly, because we have only one player from last year. We’ve had to find 14 new guys who will be competing at this level for the first time. How they handle the pressure of a Munster final will have a big bearing on the outcome. We have put in a lot of preparation, but that will count for nothing on the day.”
Experience-wise Kerry are well ahead. They have eight of the team which lost last year’s All-Ireland final to Roscommon, including Jamie Doolan, Barry John Walsh, Danny O’Sullivan, Alan O’Donoghue, Eoin Kennedy and Patrick Curtin.
With so many newcomers it’s difficult to see Cork dethroning the champions, but if they get a good start, are in touch going into the second half, then the likes of Chris O’Donovan, Denis O’Sullivan, Lorcan McLoughlin, and Paul Honohan have enough ability to cause an upset.
B. Walsh; I. Jones, R. Buckley, L. Leahy; B. Kelleher, M. Mennis, D. O’Sullivan; C. O’Donovan, D. O’Callaghan; B. O’Driscoll, C. Sheehan, A. Walsh; E. Buckley, P. Honohan, C. Dunne.
T. Mac an tSaoir; D. O’Sullivan, B. Shanahan, B. Russell; M. Ó Sé, P. Costelloe, B. O’Leary; J. Buckley, I. Somers; K. Flynn, E. Kennedy, JB Spillane; BJ Walsh,P. Curtin, J. Doolan.