Munster Junior Football Final

Munster Junior Football Final
Kerry can have few complaints as Cork win 28th Munster Junior title - Cork 0-12 Kerry 1-5
By Murt Murphy
I know it seems hard sometimes, but remember one thing, through every dark night, there's a bright day after that. So no matter how hard it gets, keep your chest out, keep your head up and handle it.". That's what Kerry team boss Kerry O'Sullivan will be saying to his players after another bad night by the Lee for a side from the Kingdom.
What is it about both Pairc Ui Rinn and Pairc Ui Caoimh that appears to faze Kerry teams because our record in recent years at these venues at various grades is far from encouraging?
Kerry O'Sullivan and his junior side travelled to Pairc Ui Caoimh on Wednesday evening to take on Cork in the Munster Junior Football Final, and it proved to be a task beyond them.
Cork had a well oiled strong machine that made life difficult for the Kingdom and in truth the writing was on the wall at the end of the opening quarter.
O'Sullivan had made no secret of the fact in advance that Kerry needed to get off to a good start (unlike the Kerry U-21 side) and he was of the opinion that if Cork got off to a flyer, Kerry would find the going tough. The managers words proved prophetic as Kerry were on the back foot from an early stage and never looked likely to cause an upset as Cork held the upper hand throughout and winning midfield meant that the Kerry defence were under the cosh while at the other end, the Kerry attack got little change from a tough tackling Cork rearguard.

Cork used the stiff wind to their advantage in the first half with full forward Andrew O'Brien proving an ideal target man while alongside him U21 attacker Kevin Hallissey dovetailed well and he was quick and busy with the result that the Kerry fullback line was always extended,

By the end of the opening quarter Cork had jumped 0-4 to 0-0 clear and Kerry were on the back foot. . O'Brien curled over the first score after a fine pass by centre-back Richard O'Sullivan, Hallissey then tapped over a free, midfielder Daniel O'Donovan fired over a fine point from long range and Hallissey proved his class by scoring Cork's fourth point.

Kerry just could not go up front and when they did, they found the Cork defence in a mean mood. The wind resulted in wing-forwards Mike Murphy and James Walsh ( who moved to wing forward after Paul Kennelly failed to make it, with Pa Kilkenny coming in at wing back) having to forage deep for quality possession and this left a huge gap between midfield and the inside line .
Kerry created very little from general play as the Cork defence cut off the supply and any ball that did come in, there seemed to be an extra Cork defender. All Kerry had to show for the opening half was two converted frees from Gavin O'Grady and Alan Fitzgerald and failing to score from play was another indicator of how much Cork were on top.

Corner-backs Enda Wiseman, who appears to be playing at this great for ever and Kevin Harrington were hugely disciplined in their defending while full-back Eoin O'Mahony demonstrated why he is on the fringes of the county senior squad with a masterful display at the edge of the square.

Cork retired 0-6 to 0-2 in front at the break but to their credit Kerry did resume a much more determined side and attacked Cork at every opportunity with Eamon Hickson and county senior Eamon Hickson driving them forward from the half back line.
One of the few Kerry players to star on the night was James Walsh who at only 19 is some prospect and his 35th minute point was a real beauty and this was quickly followed by a point from midfielder Bryan Costello and at 0-6 to 0-4, had Kerry seen an oasis or was it a mere mirage!

However Cork simply upped the tempo and tacked on four unanswered points from Mark Cronin, Brian Coughlan, Hallissey and O'Donovan as Cork stretched 0-10 to 0-4 in front and Kerry needed a miracle of sorts!
Walsh grabbed one back for Kerry and Garnett fired in that late goal through a forest of bodies but Cork, with Richard and Andrew O'Sullivan both prominent in the second-half, held on for victory.

It was a disappointing result but it is not easy for a junior manager or team as they never know who is available or not from game to game.
Kerry have lost such good players as JB Spillane, Adrian Greaney, Mikey Brennan, Paul Kennelly, Kieran Hurley and Edmund Walsh for a variety of reasons and Gary O'Driscoll was unable to play while others showed no interest.

There are positives for Kerry football in the shape of Brian McGuire, Eamon Hickson and youngsters Pa Kilkenny, Alan Fitzgerald and in particular James Walsh from Knocknagoshel so while defeat was Kerry's lot, there is much to be positive about!!

Scorers for Cork: K Hallissey 0-4 (0-1f), B Coughlan (0-1f), D O'Donovan 0-2 each, M Cronin (0-1f), A O'Brien 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: A Garnett 1-0, J Walsh 0-2, G O'Grady (0-1f), A Fitzgerald (0-1f), B Costello 0-1 each.

CORK: T O'Connor; E Wiseman, E O'Mahony, K Harrington; S Kiely, R O'Sullivan, AJ O'Connor; D O'Donovan, A O'Sullivan; M Dilworth, C Keane, B Coughlan; K Hallissey, A O'Brien, T Clancy. Subs: M Cronin for Dilworth (42), L Shorten for Clancy (50).

KERRY: S Óg Ó Ciardubháin; C O'Mahony, S Brosnan, K O'Dwyer; E Hickson, B McGuire, P Kilkenny; B Costello, A Garnett; G Sayers, M Murphy, J Walsh; G O'Grady, B Poff, A Fitzgerald. Subs: D O'Callaghan for Sayers (39), F Courtney for O'Grady (50), M Coakley for Murphy (50).

Referee: Keith O'Brien (Tipperary)



Last Updated (Friday, 08 July 2011 11:29)