Cork 1-16 Kerry 1-11
22,784 watched Cork dethrone reigning Munster champions Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with the Kingdom finishing with 13 players following the dismissals of Darragh and Tomás Ó Sé in the second half.
Cork trailed by eight points at the interval, and despite playing most of the second half at a numerical disadvantage, the Rebels gave the performance of the year in the closing 35 minutes, in order to capture a historic Munster success.
Rebels boss Conor Counihan made some tactical switches before the start of the game, with Graham Canty moving to midfield, while Derek Kavanagh dropping to a defensive role at full-back.
Cork began this game in a positive fashion as Daniel Goulding slotted over the first point from a free, inside a minute. Despite Goulding equalising six minutes later to leave the sides level at 0-2 apiece, this was as good as it got for the hosts in an opening half which saw Kerry lay down a firm marker.
Once Bryan Sheehan put Kerry into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead in the 11th minute, the Kingdom showed great resolve until the interval, holding their Munster neighbours to just one point before the break.
Kerry were firing from all angles and were well rewarded with some well earned scores, including a 13th minute goal from Donnacha Walsh, which propelled the Kingdom into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead.
This goal was certainly hard earned as Kieran Donaghy shook off the challenge of Graham Canty and fed the inrushing Walsh who palmed the ball to the net.
Kerry kept up the pressure with Colm Cooper and Darragh Ó Sé among those taking good points, as their side had build up a 1-8 to 0-3 interval lead.
The second half began in tempered fashion with yellow cards inside two minutes of the throw-in for Dara Ó Sé and Pearse O'Neill, with Donncha O'Connor ensuring the Rebels cut the deficit to seven points, with the first score of the second half.
However Cork's joy was short lived following the dismissal of Nicholas Murphy in the 39th minute, after the half forward picked up a second yellow card following a foul on Seamus Scanlon.
But Conor Counihan's charges weathered the storm well as half-time substitute Michael Cussen slotted over a point, while Goulding's third point, ensured the deficit was cut to five points in the 42nd minute.
Kerry rallied with an excellent point from half-back Tomás Ó Sé but Cork quickly cancelled out his effort with John Hayes taking his first score of the contest.
Despite Sheehan taking a fabulous score as the corner forward made full use of the wind, Cork failed to let their numerical disadvantage show, as O'Connor slotted over his third point of the game to cut the gap to five points by the 48th minute.
The drama continued to flow in abundance from the Páirc Uí Chaoimh cauldron as Kerry were also reduced to 14 men when Marc Ó Sé was shown a straight red card following a challenge on Sean O'Brien in the 52nd minute.
Cork continued to pile on the pressure and they were well rewarded when a 56th minute Donnacha O'Connor point ensured the Rebels took the lead for the first time since the opening minute of the game.
Despite Kerry responding as Sean O'Sullivan sent over his second point, Cork were certainly inspired by the introduction of James Masters, and the first point from the Nemo ace ensured Cork regained the lead.
Cork weren't to be denied a first Munster title since 2006 as excellent contributions from Fintan Gould and Goulding ensured the Rebels pulled away for their 35th Munster crown.
Kerry's woes were further compounded late on following a second yellow card for Darragh Ó Sé.
CORK: A Quirke; D Duggan, D Kavanagh, K O'Connor; B O'Regan, G Spillane, A Lynch; A O'Connor, G Canty; N Murphy, P O'Neill, S O'Brien; D Goulding (0-7, 5f), D O'Connor (0-4, 2f), J Hayes (0-1). Subs: M Cussen (1-1) for A O'Connor (HT); F Gould (0-1) for Canty (inj) (48); J Masters (0-1) for O'Brien (53); P Kerrigan (0-1) (63)
KERRY: D Murphy; M Ó Sé, T O'Sullivan, P Reidy; T Ó Sé (0-1), A O'Mahony, K Young; D Ó Sé (0-1), S Scanlon; D Walsh (1-1), E Brosnan, S O'Sullivan (0-2); C Cooper (0-3, 2f), K Donaghy, B Sheehan (0-3, 3f). Subs: D O'Sullivan for Walsh (43); T Griffin for Brosnan (59); T Walsh for S O'Sullivan (65).
REFEREE: Derek Fahy (Longford)