Ahead 2-4 to 0-6 at the break, Kerry South appeared to be coasting after two more goals from Stephen O’Sullivan on the resumption.
To their credit, Kerry North never stopped trying and late goals made for a gripping finish but not enough to reel in the deficit.
Scorers for Kerry South: S O’Sullivan 2-0, M Casey 1-1, D Keating 1-1, R Buckley 0-2, M Foley (f), E Cronin, M Sugrue 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry North: D Sheehy 1-1, J Buckley 1-0, M O’Donnell, M O’Gorman, C Geaney 0-2 each, J Goulding, S Bambury, A Barry, A O’Connor 0-1 each.
KERRY SOUTH: A O’Dwyer; C O’Shea, A O’Driscoll, G Whyte; B O’Sullivan, D J Murphy, D Roche; S Keating, C Spillane; P Spillane, R Buckley, S O’Sullivan; J Daly, M Foley, M Casey.
Subs: E Cronin, M Sugrue.
KERRY NORTH: K O’Connell; J O’Shea, J Foley, K Lynch; J Mangan, A Barry, A O’Connor; M O’Donnell, S Dukes; M O’Gorman, S Bambury, M Slattery; C Geaney, J Goulding, J Duggan.
Subs: D Sheehy, L Brosnan, J Buckley.
Referee: J Ryan (Cork).