A strong second-half performance by All-Ireland champions Cork just fell short yesterday when Kerry retained their Munster SFC crown in front of 40,892 fans at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.
Kerry, inspired by Bryan Sheehan and Aidan Maher at midfield, bossed the first-half to such an extent that they led by 1-10 to 0-5 at the interval by which stage Cork looked ragged.
Darren O’Sullivan’s superb 14th minute goal highlighted Kerry’s master-class in finishing as the Cork defence floundered.
Cork were unable to make any real headway against their opponents’ well-marshalled defence, but in the second period Conor Counihan’s side hit back with Paul Kerrigan whipping over four points and Donnacha O’Connor drilling in a 55th minute penalty that left just three points between the teams at 1-13 to 1-10.
Cork reduced that deficit to just one score, but that was as good as it got for them as Kerry closed ranks for the remainder of the match. Kerry landed the last five points of the match in clinical fashion having been held scoreless for 25 minutes.
Kerry: B Kealy; S, M Ó Sé, T O'Sullivan, A O'Mahony, E Brosnan (0-1), K Young, A Maher, B Sheehan (0-2), Darran O'Sullivan (1-0), Declan O'Sullivan (0-5), D Walsh (0-1), Colm Cooper (0-2), Kieran Donaghy (0-2), Kieran O'Leary (0-1). Subs: B J Keane, M Quirke, D Bohan, J O'Donoghue (0-1).
Cork: A Quirke; J O'Sullivan, G Canty, M Shields, N O'Leary, J Miskella, P Kissane,A O'Connor (0-1), A Walsh, C Sheehan (0-1), P Kelly (0-1), P O'Neill, D Goulding (0-5), D O'Connor (1-1), P Kerrigan (0-3). Subs: E Cotter, F Goold, E Cadogan, Denis O'Sullivan, F Lynch.
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).