Kerry 1-19 Cork 3-10
Kerry won their seventh successive Munster title with a narrow win 1-19 to 3-10 win over Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. However, it was much closer than many expected as Cork battled to the bitter end.
A poor attendance for a Munster Final of under 20,000 were treated to a superb game. However, Cork were much improved considering they were beaten by 17 points in last years final. The Rebels were just a point behind approaching injury time in the second half and points from Michael Burns and Sean O’Shea were needed to bring some calm to the Kerry supporters.
David Clifford won a free to allow Sean O’Shea to open the scoring for Kerry inside the opening minute. Kerry were six points ahead after seven minutes when corner back Tom O’Sullivan took a pass from O’Shea and O’Sullivan gave Mark White no chance. O’Shea would then go on to kick from distance. Mark Collins scored a 9th-minute point, but Kerry were dictating proceedings. Clifford made it 1-05 to 0-01 before O’Shea and Clifford missed two certain goal chances. That would have surely killed of Cork, but they found a lease of life. Ruairi Deane had his 16-minute effort saved by Shane Ryan. Cork had a goal three minutes later, Deane flicking the ball to Luke Connolly who finished to the net. Kerry finished strongly with Tom O’Sullivan, Paul Geaney, Clifford and two converted frees from Sean O’Shea meant Kerry went in at the break 1-10 to 1-04.
On the resumption, the game sparked into life. Luke Connolly smashed a penalty past Shane Ryan. The penalty was awarded after Tadgh Morley dragged down Killian O’Hanlon. Cork got their third goal through Brian Hurley. Hurley flicked Ian Maguires pointed effort to the net beating Morley and goalkeeper Ryan. It was 3-06 to 1-12 after 47 minutes. Kerry registered two points but in the midst of that Paul Geaney was given his marching orders by referee Anthony Nolan. Cork failed to take the lead though. Stephen O’Brien kicked two points to put Kerry in the driving seat, but Mark Collins landed two scores for Cork before Michael Burns and O’Shea responded. The fourth goal Cork badly never came and Kerry now go into the Super 8’s with a look of improvement needed.