Munster JFC final: Kingdom down Rebels to retain title

July 01, 2015

Kerry's Conor Cox

Conor Cox (1-7) and Jeff O'Donoghue (0-6) were the main men as Kerry recorded a 1-20 to 0-11 victory over Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn tonight.

The win sees Kerry retain the provincial junior title (they defeated Cork by ten points in last year's decider) and progress to an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Leinster champions Wexford.

It had looked promising for the Rebels when Micheál Ó Laoire pointed to give them a 0-9 to 0-7 lead in the 33rd minute but the winners then hit an incredible 1-11 without reply during the next 22 minutes, including Cox' goal from a 48th-minute penalty to put the outcome beyond doubt.

At the end of an astonishing first half, the Rebels led by 0-8 to 0-5. In a genuine half of two halves, Kerry came storming out of the blocks with the first five scores inside twelve minutes … but back came the losers with eight unanswered points, including four from Mark Sugrue.

Both teams lined out as selected and full forward Cox had the Kingdom off to a handy start with a point inside the opening minute. The same played doubled the difference in the fourth minute and the visitors also coughed up a decent goalscoring opportunity during the early exchanges.

As the defending champions continued to dominate, Brian Crowley pointed after the impressive James Walsh had tested the strength of the crossbar to assure them of a three-point cushion after ten minutes. Jeff O'Donoghue added the fourth unanswered point 60 seconds later…

Mark Sugrue finally opened the Rebels' account from a 13th-minute free after Alan O'Donoghue had supplied the winners' fifth score of the night. Brian Coughlan followed up instantly with another Cork score to reduce the arrears to three.

Exchanges were much more evenly-contested as Paul McCarthy's men came more into the game and Sugrue's second of the night had the hosts right back in the match, 0-5 to 0-3 with 19 minutes played. Midfielder Ó Laoire continued the fightback and Brian Dillons clubman Cillian Brosnan had the sides level again by the 22nd minute. Five points for one team followed by five for the other - typical Cork-Kerry fare!

Seamus Hickey from Rockchapel lofted over the sixth consecutive Cork point and Sugrue's free flew between the posts in the 24th minute: 0-7 to 0-5. Three minutes from the break, Sugrue nailed his fourth point from another free.

Kerry outscored the hosts by five points to one in the first ten minutes after the resumption to assume a 0-10 to 0-9 advantage, with Jeff O'Donoghue notching the 19th point of the night…

The Kingdom rediscovered their scoring touch at the start of the second half with points from matchwinners O'Donoghue and Cox within two minutes of the restart. Ó Laoire produced an immediate response but Brosna's Eamon Kiely pointed within seconds of his introduction to make it a one-point game. Crowley brought the sides level for the second and only time in the 39th minute: 0-9 each.

Jeff O'Donoghue (2) and Thomas Hickey were on target as the Kingdom hit five-in-a-row for the second time to lead by 0-12 to 0-9 and the Glenflesk clubman quickly added his fifth of the night to stretch the gap to four with 18 minutes left.

Cox's converted free at the start of the fourth quarter put five between them and the same player then netted from the penalty spot in the 48th minute: 1-14 to 0-9 and 1-7 without reply!

Cox (2), Kiely, and Jeff O'Donoghue brought the amazing Kingdom scoring sequence to 1-11 before Paul Condon intervened with Cork's first score in 22 minutes: 1-18 to 0-10 after 55. Wing back Sean Kiely sent over another consolation point on the hour but fittingly it was Cox who replied with a converted '45' in the second minute of added time before Thomas Hickey closed the scoring from a free.

Kerry and Cork will do it all again on Sunday in the 2015 Munster SFC final!

Kerry - S Murphy; D O'Donoghue, J McGuire, D Culhane; J Walsh, T Morley, G Crowley; B O'Sullivan, L Kearney; B Crowley (0-2), J O'Donoghue (0-6), P O'Connor; A O'Donoghue (0-1), C Cox (1-7, 1-0pen, 0-2f, 0-1'45), T Hickey (0-2, 1f). Subs: G O'Sullivan (0-1) for L Kearney, E Kiely (0-1) for B O'Sullivan, A Barry for B Crowley, M Brennan for D O'Donoghue, G Gibson for G Crowley, D Griffin for J O'Donoghue.

Cork - A Seymour; A J O'Connor, D Murphy, J McLoughlin; S Kiely (0-1), J Collins, B Daly; M O Laoire (0-2), C Brosnan (0-1); J Corkery, B Coughlan (0-1), M Sugrue (0-4, 3f); A O'Connor, S Hickey (0-1), A Barry. Subs: T J Brosnan for A J O'Connor, P Condon (0-1) for A Barry, P Daly for J Collins, R O'Hagan for A O'Connor, J Ryan for D Murphy.

Referee - A Kissane.

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