However Cork boss John Meyler wouldn’t be reaching for the panic button just yet as he fielded an experimental side in this dead rubber Co-Op Superstores Munster SHL in Austin Stack Park as he finalises preparations for a date with Kilkenny on January 27 in the Allianz League.
But credit the hosts who produced a storming second quarter (hitting 1-8, with just two points in reply from Cork) to lay the foundation for a win that brought some early cheer to the hurling folk in the Kingdom.
Bryan Murphy, Tom Murnane, Darren Dineen, and Sean B Weir excelled. In attack young Shane Conway, Padraig Boyle, and goalscorer Colm Harty all made a mark.
Kerry led 1-13 to 0-6 at the interval with Cork relying on the free taking of Declan Dalton to stay in touch. A John Looney goal narrowed the gap but Kerry, who played some neat passages of hurling, kept their composure to seal a magical win.
Goalkeeper Patrick Collins made some excellent saves while fullback Colm Barry and wing-forward Eoghain Keniry all impressed for Cork and manager Meyler was philosophical in defeat: “It was level early on and then Kerry tacked on a few scores and they got five or six points in a row and that steadied them, and they came into the game and played some good hurling.
"We were using the game like the previous two in the Munster League to try and find players and we were quite happy with one or two players there and that is the essence of these competitions.
"We are focused on Kilkenny in two weeks and that is it. We play Galway next Sunday, we have no long-term injuries but we were away training for two days and we are minding a few lads who picked up niggles.”
Kerry boss Fintan O’Connor was delighted with the result but was not getting carried away: “Cork had a young side out but anytime you beat Cork you’ll take it especially as a lot of those lads won Fitzgibbon medals last year.”
S Conway (0-10, 4 frees), C Harty (1-1), P Boyle (0-4), S Nolan (0-3), SB Weir (0-2), B Barrett, D Griffin and J Goulding (0-1 each)
D Dalton (0-8, 7f), J Looney (1-0), E Keniry (0-3), L Meade and A Myers (0-1).
M Stackpoole; J Buckley, J Diggins, Niall O’Mahony; S B Weir, B Murphy, D Dineen; B Barrett, D Griffin; C Harty, S Nolan, J Conway; P Boyle, S Conway, M O’Connor.
S Murphy for M Stackpoole (inj 4), T Murnane for J Diggins (inj 12), J Goulding for M O’Connor (46), D Fitzell for N O’Mahony (55), D O’Carroll for D Griffin (65).
P Collins: S Smyth, C Barry, G Murphy; R Cahalane, N O’Leary, J Cooper; C Cahalane, L Meade; E Keniry, D Dalton, J Looney; B Mulcahy, I Cahill, M Sugrue.
E Clifford for R Cahalane (h/t), A Myers for B Mulcahy (h/t), S Condon for I Cahill (h/t), E Healy for G Murphy (49), P Lyons for J Looney (57.
T Walsh (Waterford).