One simple statistic illustrates how the game was turned on its head — Kerry adding 1-15 to an interval total scored in the opening 13 minutes.
Winning manager Stephen Wallace agreed it could not have been foreseen at half-time. “You did not want to be in our dressingroom, it was fairly hot,” he remarked. I said, ‘how could ye be so good for 10 minutes and so bad for the next 20....Look what they did for the following 30 minutes.”
Cork manager Paul McCarthy accepted they had been outclassed. “To be fair to Kerry it was not what happened to us,” he said. “They got the first two points after half-time and just drove on from there. We did not have any answer.”
Kerry began on a positive note, with two early points from full-forward Conor Cox giving them confidence. Overall, they showed a greater capacity to win possession and smart play in attack was complemented by good covering in defence.
The only negative was a weakness in finishing which accounted for five early wides which matched their points total in the 13th minute, following which they were held scoreless for the rest of the half.
A steady improvement from the home side was given impetus by excellent free-taking from Mark Sugrue, while the form of Michael O’Leary and Cillian Brosnan at midfield was to prove crucial (resulting in Kerry withdrawing Brosnan’s opponent after 25 minutes).
In time, however, replacement Gary O’Sullivan was to emerge as one of their star performers.
Once Cork gained momentum and the forwards began to link, the scores quickly followed, with Brosnan bringing them level before a strong finish saw them lead 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval.
It didn’t take Kerry long to reassert their superiority.
And after early points from the impressive Jeff O’Donoghue and Cox, O’Leary got what proved to be Cork’s only score until the 56th minute (when substitute Paul Condon blazed the ball over from in front of goal).
In between, Kerry took over at midfield, where James Walsh did well after his move from wing-back and they notched up a succession of points before Cox goaled from a 48th minute penalty.
C. Cox (1-7, 1-0 pen, 2 frees, 1 45); J. O’Donoghue (0-6); T. Hickey and B. Crowley (0-2 each); A. O’Donoghue, E. Kiely, G. O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
M. Sugrue (0-4, 3 frees); M. O’Leary (0-2); S. Hickey, C. Brosnan, S. Kiely, P. Condon, B. Coughlan (0-1 each).
S. Murphy (Kilcummin); D. O’Donoghue (Spa), J. McGuire (Listowel Emmetts), 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, capt.), C. Cox (Listowel Emmetts), T. Hickey (Castleisland Desmonds). Subs: G. O’Sullivan (Listry) for Kearney (25); E. Kiely (Brosna) for B. O’Sullivan (36); A. Barry (Brosna) for B. Crowley (54); M. Brennan (Churchill) for D. O’Donoghue (57); G. Gibson (Waterville) for G. Crowley, D. Griffin (Ardfert) for J. O’Donoghue (both 60).
A. Seymour (Castlehaven); A. J. O’Connor (Kiskeam), D. Murphy (Ballincollig), J. MacLoughlin (Kanturk); S. Kiely (Macroom, capt.), J. Collins (St.Mary’s), B. Daly (Newmarket); M.Ó Laoire (Naomh Abán), C. Brosnan (Brian Dillons); J. Corkery (Aghabullogue), B. Coughlan (Kinsale), M. Sugrue (Bandon); A.O’Connor (Knocknagree), S. Hickey (Rockchapel), A. Barry (Glanmire). Subs: T. J.Brosnan (Newmarket) for O’Connor (7); P. Condon (Mayfield) for Barry (39); P. Daly (St. Mary’s) for Collins (45); R. O’Hagan (Fermoy) for O’Connor (51); J. Ryan (Newmarket) for Murphy (54).
Alan Kissane (Waterford).