Kerry survive late Cork onslaught to book final date
The Kingdom were firmly in control with eight minutes remaining after sub Paul O’Donoghue stretched their advantage to six points. But Cork, champions in this grade last year which meant they had to field an entirely new side for this game, mounted a late rally with subs Eoghan Buckley and John Dineen hitting four points between them from frees to narrow the gap.
Ultimately it took a brave block by Sean Og O Ciardubháin to deny Dineen a goal in injury-time to secure Kerry’s win.
They were full value for the victory, having recovered from a poor start when Cork corner-forward John Paul Murphy crashed home a brilliant goal in the fifth minute. Cork built on that to lead 1-2 to 0-1 by the 12th minute yet Kerry, with Mike O’Donoghue excelling in attack, recovered to lead 0-6 to 1-2 at the interval.
The opening stages of the second-half were evenly contested with O’Mahony and David O’Callaghan raising white flags for Kerry before Murphy and Mark Delaney replied for Cork. However, Kerry then upped the tempo with Conor Cox, a shining light for the county U21 side this season, O’Donoghue and Stephen O’Brien all posing problems in attack and demonstrating accuracy in front of goal. O’Mahony was again denied by Seymour when he closed in on goal in the 50th minute yet Kerry’s advantage still looked healthy at 0-13 to 1-4 with eight minutes left. They needed to fend off a powerful comeback by Cork though before sealing their place in the final against Clare on July 11.
Scorers for Kerry: C Cox (0-2f), M O’Donoghue 0-3 each, S O’Brien, N O’Mahony 0-2 each, D O’Callaghan, N Ó Sé, P O’Donoghue 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: JP Murphy 1-1 (0-1f), E Buckley, J Dineen 0-2 (0-2f) each, K O’Driscoll, M Delaney, P O’Flynn (0-1f) 0-1 each.
KERRY: S Óg Ó Ciardubháin; K Quirke, P Corridan, K O’Dwyer; E Hickson, M Mangan, J Sherwood; A Garnett, J Walsh; N O’Mahony, M O’Donoghue, D O’Callaghan; S O’Brien, N Ó Sé, C Cox.
Subs: P O’Donoghue for O’Callaghan (40), G O’Driscoll for Cox (53), M Brennan for O’Mahony (58), A O’Sullivan for Garnett (60).
CORK: A Seymour; J McLoughlin, J Dennehy, B O’Riordan; N Barry, M Hickey, J Cronin; M Delaney, R Deane; P O’Flynn, K O’Driscoll, C O’Driscoll; J Lane, S Beston, JP Murphy.
Subs: J Dineen for C O’Driscoll (16-18, blood), N McCarthy for Barry (38), F O’Shea for Delaney (46), Dineen for Murphy (50), J Ryan for Hickey, E Buckley for C O’Driscoll (both 54).
Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).