A ninth win in a row for Kerry representatives in this championship was never really in doubt once a healthy early lead was augmented by goals from Caolim Teahan and Kieran Courtney to give them a 2-7 to 0-5 half-time lead.
The way his team bounced back from the 2-14 to 0-17 loss to Beaufort heartened manager Aidan O’Shea.
“We were very disappointed, we were beaten convincingly on the day,” he said.
“We kicked 17 points and we played poorly, we weren’t working the ball well. I don’t know if it was the reason we won today but it probably didn’t hurt to focus the minds for today.”
As the Kerry champions hit the ground running, their Cork opponents couldn’t find the fluency which had brought them to this stage. Goals at vital times had been the currency of the Ballydehob/Schull side, but they found themselves frustrated.
“We thought that they’d bring a man back,” O’Shea said, “so we decided to park a man in front of the full-back. The boys inside are very dangerous so we didn’t want easy ball going into them.”
The closest sight that Gabriels got of goal was in the 23rd minute, after Gavan O’Grady’s excellent point had followed Caolim Teahan’s opening goal to make it 1-7 to 0-3. Captain Mark Cronin found Eddie Goggin, who had scored ten goals this year, but under pressure from full-back Jeremiah Hoare – not all legal, Gabriels felt – he screwed his shot wide.
Seán Kelleher did point a free after that to bring them back to within six points, but immediately after that they were cut open as Darran O’Sullivan and O’Grady linked up to allow Kieran Courtney to find the net.
A Cronin free just before half-time gave hope to the sizeable Gabriels support among the 3,118 present, but an eight-point interval deficit was to extend further on the resumption as Tommy Cahill’s free was followed by O’Grady points, the first of these following a good win from the excellent delivery by the tireless Danny O’Sullivan.
From such a position, Glenbeigh-Glencar never looked like being shaken and sub Daniel Griffin might have got a third goal on the three-quarter mark only to fire across the face.
Gabriels needed a goal and sub Ronan Roycroft had a half-chance well dealt with by Rory O’Connor, with the goalkeeper then doing well to prevent Kelleher getting on the end of Gerard O’Callaghan’s ball in.
With subs Bernard Murphy and Pádraig Griffin coming on to add to the Glenbeigh-Glencar tally, they saw out the game in the commanding fashion they had started it. Captain Colin McGillycuddy and Fergal Griffin at midfield laid the foundation and though an early two-point lead was wiped out by Gabriels, four in a row – Cahill with two and O’Grady and Teahan also on target as Darran O’Sullivan dictated play – gave them a cushion.
Cronin did pull one back for Gabriels, but then Danny O’Sullivan, O’Grady and Courtney moved the ball at pace to set up Teahan. From there, they pushed on convincingly. More silverware could follow in the spring.
G O’Grady (0-7, 1 free), T Cahill (0-6, 4 frees), Caolim Teahan (1-1), K Courtney (1-0), P Griffin, B Murphy (0-1 each).
M Cronin (0-6, 3 frees), S Kelleher (0-2, frees), G O’Callaghan, C Moynihan 0-1 each.
R O’Connor; S Roche, J Hoare, C Doyle; J Brosnan, P Kilkenny, S O’Sullivan; C McGillycuddy, F Griffin; T Cahill, Darran O’Sullivan, Caolim Teahan; K Courtney, G O’Grady, Danny O’Sullivan.
D Griffin for Brosnan (39), V Hoare for Roche (41), B Murphy for Danny O’Sullivan (50), P Griffin for Darran O’Sullivan (53), D McGillycuddy for Doyle (57, black card), Calvin Teahan for Courtney (57).
D O’Mahony; K O’Callaghan, C Newman, J Donegan; L Hegarty, R Moynihan, G O’Callaghan; D O’Sullivan, S O’Mahony; F Hurley, C Moynihan, E O’Brien; M Cronin, E Goggin, S Kelleher.
S Evans for O’Brien (30), P Hegarty for O’Sullivan (38), R Roycroft for L Hegarty (42, black card), D Roycroft for Donegan (58), W Cronin for Hurley (60).
S Lonergan (Tipperary).