The Rebels haven’t won against the Kingdom at Fitzgerald Stadium since 1995; and Conor Counihan’s men couldn’t do enough to take the Munster SFC title this afternoon.
Kerry were completely in control at half-time after an impressive first period and iPad Cases, in truth, Cork were fortunate to trot in just seven points adrift.
Colm Cooper scored the goal for the hosts with a lovely side-footed effort as he charged through the centre.
Conor Counihan made several personnel switches at the interval — while Aidan Walsh also moved into half forward — and the Rebels at last got their afternoon going in the second half.
Cork hit six points on the trot — with Daniel Goulding notching two, along with Donncha O’Connor, Ciaran Sheahan, Aidan Walsh and Brian Hurley — to get within a goal of Kerry: 1-14 to 0-14 with under ten minutes to go.
But the Rebels ultimately couldn’t find the green flag needed to bridge the gap. Bryan Sheehan lofted over an impressive and typical long-range free for Kerry, the sides exchanged points before Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy pulled off a spectacular close-range save as they held out for Eamon Fitzmaurice’s first Munster final win as manager Dentist Hong Kong.
Before this game, we wondered where exactly Munster’s two powerhouses fitted into the pecking order. Now we know more. Kerry march on with new vigour while Conor Counihan will turn his attentions to the qualifiers as Cork face the hard road once again handbags embroidery.
Scorers for Kerry: Colm Cooper 1-3 (0-3f), James O’Donoghue 0-3, Declan O’Sullivan 0-2, Marc Ó Sé, Peter Crowley, Brendan Kealy (0-1f), Johnny Buckley (0-1f), Anthony Maher, Paul Galvin, Donnchadh Walsh, Darran O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Daniel Goulding 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’45), James Loughrey, Brian Hurley, Donncha O’Connor (0-1f) 0-2 each, John O’Rourke, Paul Kerrigan, Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan 0-1 each.
KERRY: Brendan Kealy; Peter Crowley, Marc O Se, Mark Griffin; Killian Young, Shane Enright, Tomás O Se; Anthony Maher, Johnny Buckley; Paul Galvin, Colm Cooper, Donnchadh Walsh; James O’Donoghue.
Subs: Kieran Donaghy for Walsh (55), Fionn Fitzgerald for Tomas O Sé (58), Eoin Brosnan for Young (60), Bryan Sheehan for Buckley (62).
CORK: Ken O’Halloran; Michael Shields, Eoin Cadogan, Paudie Kissane; Noel O’Leary, James Loughrey, Damien Cahalane; Graham Canty, Aidan Walsh; Fintan Goold, Paul Kerrigan, John O’Rourke; Daniel Goulding, Brian Hurley, Donncha O’Connor.
Subs: Alan O’Connor for Cahalane (34), Thomas Clancy for Cadogan (half-time), Pearse O’Neill for O’Rourke (half-time), Ciaran Sheehan for Donncha O’Connor (55), Mark Collins for Goold (64).