Ugly half-time tunnel scenes and a mass melee at the final whistle involving players and members of the backroom teams marred what was a feisty Munster U17 Football Final at the Austin Stack Park last night.
Munster Under 17 Football Final
Kerry 0-15 Cork 0-10
Seven players who featured in last week’s meeting between Kerry and Cork at minor championship level were again in action for their respective counties and this win completes the underage grand slam for the Kingdom.
Cork looked the better side early on thanks to the midfield dominance of Mark Keane and Neil O’Sullivan and scored three rapid points in the opening five minutes, two from Blake Murphy and another from Keane.
However Kerry thundered into the game and Cork did not score again for 19 minutes when Mark Cronin kicked a fine point.
Kerry tightened up at the back with man-of-the-match Eddie Horan driving forward while Fergal Barry and Dylan Casey put the shackles on Cork’s danger men.
Kerry had a succession of scores from Michael Slattery, Dara Casey, Michael Kelliher, Sean Doherty and Sean Keane as they led 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time. The sides entered the tunnel together, leading to unsavoury scenes.
It only seemed to drive Kerry on and the introduction of Daire Cleary (nephew of Cork’s John Cleary) saw Kerry take control. Three points from Franz Sauerland, Cleary himself and Barry Keane saw Kerry move 0-11 to 0-6 in front with five minutes gone in the second period.
Cork hit back with points from Blake Murphy and Conor Russell to leave a goal between the sides but a combination of three bad wides and a black card for team captain Blake Murphy ensured that Cork were on the back foot towards the end.
A goal was disallowed for the Rebels late on, the officials deciding the ball went out of play in the build-up and Cleary, Micheál Devlin, and the impressive Eddie Horan guided Kerry to success.
Unfortunately at the final whistle tempers became frayed with an ugly melee in front of the team dugouts. It looks certain the Munster Council will investigate.
Scorers for Kerry:
M Slattery, S Keane and M Kelleher (1f) (0-3 each, D Cleary (0-2), F Sauerland, D Casey, S Doherty and B Keane (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork:
B Murphy (0-5, 1 free), M Cronin (0-3, 1 free), M Keane and C Russell (0-1 each).
D Uosis (Dingle); G Lyne (Annascaul), Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks), F Barry (Na Gaeil); L Brosnan (Castleisland Desmonds), E Horan (Scartaglen), T Devane (Dingle): S O’Connell (Cordal), F Sauerland (An Ghaeltacht); Dara Casey (Glenbeigh/Glencar), S Doherty (Glenflesk), M Kelleher (John Mitchels); B Keane (Listry), M Slattery (Austin Stacks), S Keane (Emmets).
D Cleary (Laune Rangers) for D Cleary (h/t), M Devlin (Killarney Legion for B Keane (50), D McMahon (Austin Stacks) for S Doherty (55), D Looney (Legion) for S Keane (62).
C Lankford (Kilavullen); J Corcoran (Nemo Rangers), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree), E Murray (Dohenys); D Lardner (Fermoy), G Lardner (Fermoy), J O’Mullane (Kilmurry); M Keane (Mitchelstown), N O’Sullivan (Adrigole); F Herlihy (Dohenys), B Murphy (Na Piarsaigh), J Murphy (Eire Óg); M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), C Russell (Douglas), C McMahon (Kilshannig).
K Murphy (Glanmire) for G Lardner ( h/t), R Dalton ( Nemo Rangers) for C McMahon (42), C Crowley (Glanmire) for C Russell ( 52), L Twohig (Aghinagh) for B Murphy (b/c 54), S Desmond (Clondrohid) for J Murphy (56).
D O’Callaghan (Limerick).
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