The game was on a knife edge in the third quarter when Meelin held a two-point advantage, but a trademark Anthony Nash goal from a close-in free put Kanturk in pole position with 10 minutes to play.
Meelin did pull a goal back in stoppage time but, deprived of any decent possession, the second half proved to be an uphill struggle.
Right from the off, Liam O’Keeffe had the ball in the net for Kanturk and it was a dream start for the corner-forward who lined out in place of the injured Ian Walsh. They went on to lead 1-3 to nil after O’Keeffe and Aidan Walsh (2) pointed. Walsh battled extremely hard throughout but was hampered by a shoulder problem later in the match.
Meelin settled after a shaky start and reeled off four Eamonn Brosnan frees to get back in contention. They were winning their share around the middle and with 30 minutes gone they only trailed by two points courtesy of a fine score from William Murphy. By half-time the margin was the same as O’Keeffe and Shane O’Riordan traded points, 1-5 to 0-6.
O’Riordan brought his side level within 60 seconds of the restart with a pair of sublime points. When Brosnan added a free and Ben Collins bagged one from play, the Meelin fans were on their feet — ahead for the first time 0-10 to 1-5 five minutes into the new half.
Inexplicably, they didn’t score again until normal time had elapsed.
Kanturk moved Lorcán McLoughlin into full-forward on the changeover and while he miscued a couple of earlier efforts, his perseverance paid off, and along with Walsh and John Browne, they regained the lead on 45 minutes.
Then we had Nash’s goal. In the first instance a Meelin player ran to meet him as he threw the sliotar in the air so the referee ordered another free closer to goal — this one he buried (2-9 to 0-10).
Nash came up field once again but this time his effort was well saved. However, Lorcán McLoughlin hit a wonderful free and a 65 to increase the lead to seven points by the 60th minute.
The Kanturk backs were dominating too, as Meelin were forced to go for goals. Nash denied Brosnan from a free but the keeper was eventually beaten when O’Riordan latched onto a William Murphy 65.
It mattered little though as the win was already secure.
Scorers for Kanturk: L O’Keeffe (1-2), L McLoughlin (0-5, two frees, one 65), A Nash (1-0 free), A Walsh (0-3), J Browne (0-1).
Scorers for Meelin: S O’Riordan (1-3), E Brosnan (0-5, frees), W Murphy and B Collins (0-1 each).
KANTURK: A Nash (Capt); S Walsh, D Duane, E O’Connor; L O’Neill, L McLoughlin, D O’Connor; J McLoughlin, A Walsh; W Murphy, J Healy, J Browne; L O’Keeffe, M Healy, M O’Riordan.
Subs: D Browne for W Murphy (40), C Burke for M O’Riordan (54), A O’Keeffe for M Healy (58).
MEELIN: S M O’Sullivan; D O’Riordan, TJ Brosnan, M Forrest; J O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan, Jerry Forrest; L Collins, W Murphy; John Forrest, B Collins, J Curtin; E Brosnan, W Buckley (Capt), S O’Riordan.
Subs: D Linehan for W Buckley (56).
Referee: David Daly (Brian Dillons).