Cork 1-17 Kerry 0-12
Having seen a five-point lead reeled in last Sunday, Cork made no mistakes in seeing off Kerry in today's Munster SFC semi-final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Aside from early on in the game, when Kerry got the first two points, Cork never trailed, and showed great character to pull away again in the second half after seeing a five-point half-time advantage wiped out within 10 minutes of the restart.
The catalyst for that revitalisation by the home side was a Donncha O’Connor penalty after Daniel Goulding had been fouled.
After that Cork never looked back, finishing far stronger than their visitors.
With the home fans ‘ole-ing’ passes in the closing stages, the Munster champions qualified for this year’s final against Limerick on July 5 in style.
All over the pitch Cork were dominant.
Anthony Lynch was the undisputed man of the match as he kept Colm Cooper scoreless from play. John Miskella was a force of nature as he quelled the influence of Declan O’Sullivan. Alan O’Connor and Nicholas Murphy bossed midfield and up front Donncha O’Connor and Goulding scored a total of 1-10 between them.
For Kerry manager Jack O’Connor, an All-Ireland must seem very far away now as they were outclassed, that 10-minute period at the beginning of the second half excepted, and they must now go back to the drawing board before the qualifiers on July 11.
After the beginning of the game was delayed by 20 minutes due to crowd congestion at the turnstiles, Kerry started brighter, two Bryan Sheehan frees getting off the mark as Cork were struggling.
From almost nowhere, however, they got a real handle on the game and, inspired by Donncha O’Connor, reeled off six points in a row to lead by four after Patrick Kelly’s point on 26 minutes.
A minute prior to that, both Cork’s Noel O’Leary and Paul Galvin of Kerry had been sent off for an off-the-ball incident, but it did not seem to affect Cork as they extended the lead to 0-9 to 0-4 by half-time.
Kerry came out after the break a changed side however, with positional changes paying off as they found parity. Just when Cork looked to be shaky, though, Goulding was fouled by Tom O’Sullivan in the square after being put in by Donncha O’Connor, and O’Connor made no mistake with his penalty to make it 1-9 to 0-9.
Kerry never really threatened after that, as Cork powered home, even being allowed the luxury of Goulding missing a relatively easy goal chance 11 minutes from the end, and they will now fear nobody in the pursuit of a first All-Ireland in 19 years.
Scorers for Cork: D O’Connor 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), D Goulding 0-5 (0-2f), J Miskella 0-2, P Kelly, P Kerrigan, J Masters, F Goold, P O’Flynn 0-1 each.
Kerry: C Cooper 0-4, B Sheehan (0-1f) Darran O’Sullivan 0-2, D Ó Sé, Declan O’Sullivan, T Kennelly, D Moran (0-1 45) 0-1 each.
CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, A Lynch; G Canty, J Miskella, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, N Murphy; P Kelly, P O’Neill, P Kerrigan; D Goulding, J Masters, D O’Connor.
Subs: F Goold for Murphy (inj, 49), P O’Flynn for Kerrigan (56), J Hayes for Kelly (65), F Lynch for A O’Connor (67), C O’Neill for P O’Neill (blood, 70).
KERRY: D Murphy; M Ó Sé, T O’Sullivan, P Reidy; T Ó Sé, A O’Mahony, K Young; D Ó Sé, T Griffin; P Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan, T Kennelly; C Cooper, T Walsh, B Sheehan.
Subs: Darran O’Sullivan for Sheehan (28), D Moran for M Ó Sé (half-time), A O’Shea for Reidy (48), D Walsh for T Walsh (53), E Brosnan for D Ó Sé (56).
Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan).