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2007 All-Ireland SFC final: Kerry trounce sad Cork

16 September 2007

Kerry captain Declan O’Sullivan raises ’Sam’ for the second time
Kerry punished some abysmal Cork defending to retain their national crown with a comprehensive 3-13 to 1-9 All-Ireland final victory at Croke Park.

The Rebels handed the defending champions three goals in a one-sided all-Munster affair and the Kingdom took full advantage to cruise across the winning line with ten points to spare.

With this unexpectedly simple success, Kerry became the first team since the Rebels themselves in 1990 to win back-to-back All-Irelands.

The Gooch struck 1-5 for the winners, while Kieran Donaghy chipped in with a brace of second-half goals.

Colin Cooper’s goal towards the end of the first quarter had Pat O’Shea’s side ahead after a disappointing first half: 1-6 to 0-6. But Kerry effectively won the game with a run of 1-4 at the start of the second half.

The Rebels never found their rhythm, with only towering full forward Michael Cussen managing to score from open play in the first half.

Tomas O Se’s foul on Pearse O’Neill presented James Masters with the opening score from a routine free in the third minute and Paul Galvin had a Kerry wide before centre back Aidan O’Mahony levelled with a fine point from 40 yards.

Donnacha O’Connor stroked over a second Cork free after Michael Cussen was fouled by Tom O’Sullivan but Bryan Sheehan levelled with a Kerry free after Declan O’Sullivan had been unfairly impeded.

Googh Cooper and O’Connor traded frees before the latter brought a scrappy game to life when he outjumped Alan Quirke and Ciaran O’Connor to connect with Seamus Scanlon’s high punt and fist the ball to the roof of the net on 17 minutes. Suddenly, the Kingdom led by three points, 1-3 to 0-3.

In the 20th minute, Cooper cut inside Ciaran O’Connor to drive a powerful shot high over the bar from close range before Masters (free) and Paul Galvin traded frees.

Kieran Donaghy could well have been awarded a penalty when Michael Shields seemed to wrestle him to the ground on 22 minutes. The big full forward sent his shot wide as he fell to the ground and he remonstrated angrily with referee David Coldrick when no award was forthcoming.

Masters tapped over another Cork free before Tomas O Se raided forward from wing back to clip over the holders’ sixth point. That score left Cooper’s goal between the teams at the interval.

The decision to play Masters despite an obvious lack of match fitness didn’t pay off for Billy Morgan and the Rebel maestro called his talismanic attacker ashore at half time, replacing him with Daniel Goulding.

However, the change didn’t have the desired effect as the Leesiders made a nightmare start to the second half. In the first minute, Donaghy dispossessed centre back Ger Spillane close to goal and was left with the simple task of firing the ball to an empty net at the Hill 16 end.

Quirke had gone walkabout and the Kingdom No.14 couldn’t miss. The gift doubled Kerry’s lead and the Munster champions added points from Sheehan, Scanlon and captain Declan O’Sullivan to lead by a whopping nine with five minutes played in the second period, 2-9 to 0-6.

Cork sprung Anthony Lynch and Fintan Gould in a desperate attempt to get back into the match but it was all Kerry and Cooper turned his man inside-out to bring his side’s amazing second-half scoring sequence to 1-4 on the trot.

Donnacha O’Connor opened Cork’s post-interval account with a 45th-minute free but further calamitous defending presented Donaghy with his second goal of the match. Shields and Quirke got their wires crossed and allowed the ball to squirm to the 2006 Footballer of the Year who, for the second time, had an empty net before his disbelieving eyes.

The No.14 obliged and the All-Ireland champions led by twelve points at the end of the third quarter, 3-10 to 0-7.

Goulding gave the Reds a sliver of hope when he gathered possession and drove a rasping low shot to the bottom of the Kerry net. The referee flashed a few cards after tempers frayed amid a slight altercation.

The unerring Cooper won and converted a free after Donnacha O’Connor landed a Rebel point from play. Goulding added to his personal haul with a neat point but Kerry still led by eight with as many minutes left.

Cooper stretched the Kerry advantage and strengthened his Man of the Match claims with a sublime point and substitute Sean O’Sullivan added to Cork’s embarrassment with a 65th-minute point, which put ten between the teams.

In the end, Kerry won at a canter.

Kerry - D Murphy; M O Se, T O’Sullivan, P Reidy; T O Se, A O’Mahony, K Young; D O Se, S Scanlon (0-2); P Galvin (0-1), Declan O’Sullivan (0-1), E Brosnan; C Cooper (1-6), K Donaghy (2-0), B Sheehan (0-3). Subs - S O’Sullivan for Galvin, Darren O’Sullivan for Brosnan, T Griffin for Young, M Lyons for Reidy, MF Russell for Sheehan.

Cork - A Quirke; M Shields, G Canty, K O’Connor; N O’Leary, G Spillane, J Miskella; D Kavanagh, N Murphy; C McCarthy, P O’Neill, K McMahon; J Masters (0-3), M Cussen (0-1), D O’Connor (0-4). Subs - D Goulding (1-1) for J Masters, A Lynch for J Miskella, F Goold for K McMahon, K O’Sullivan for C McCarthy.

Referee - D Coldrick (Meath).






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