Sunday, May 15, 2011

Senior Football: Kerry Snatch Victory from Cork

Cork 1-6 Kerry 2-6

Munster rivals Kerry and Cork kicked off the Senior Football Championship amid very wet and difficult conditions Sunday afternoon. With 29 minutes gone in the second half Cork held a three-point lead and it looked as if The Rebels had the points in the bag. Kerry persisted however, and as Cork struggled to clear their lines a late goal from Kerry corner forward Damien Kelly proved to be the wining score in a dramatic finish.

It was a day for the ducks when Kerry and Cork met in the
2011 Senior Football Championship opener.
Conditions made it difficult for both sides to hit their men in the forward line. Colm Caffrey marshaled the back line well for Cork and Kerry’s early efforts at moving the ball frequently broke down. Caffrey's counterpart, Kerry center back Tom Dennehy, did a lot of mopping up. Eventually Mike Moynihan opened the account for Cork with a well-taken point from play and after eight minutes added another from a free. With Cork looking like they were taking control Kerry struck with a goal from nothing. A free kick from 50 yards was dropped into the square and Padraig Doyle got a hand to it to direct the ball into the Cork net. Kerry followed with a point from Ian Whelan and the Kingdom now held a two-point lead. Cork weren’t long about canceling out the goal. Mike Moynihan finished a move that began with Julian Leonard at corner back, Cork moved the ball well downfield and Stephen Birmingham passed to Moynihan who made no mistake from in front of goal. Cork almost had a second when Trevor Kelly was found on the edge of the small square, but Kerry keeper, Dan O’Connor, narrowed the angle and Kelly’s shot trickled wide of the far post. The sides traded points before the end of the half, David Hughes for Cork and Damien Kelly for Kerry. At the break Cork led by a score of 1-3 to 1-2.

Julian Leonard tries to get the block in on Ian Whelan.
The rain eased off the second half, however, conditions remained difficult. Stringing together a few passes was a challenge, and after Kelly leveled the scores with a free for Kerry five minutes into the half a long scoreless period ensued. Both sets of backs were in the ascendancy with play moving up and down the field. With the game in the balance Cork were the side that broke the deadlock with three points in quick succession from Mike Moynihan. With 10 minutes left on the clock Cork looked a good bet to come away with the win. Kerry went in search of goal as the minutes ticked away, while for Cork it was all hands on deck to clear the lines. Cork, however, paid the price for failing to do so effectively and went from 3 points up to 3 points down in a six-point injury time swing. After Cork beat back a 14-yard free that was hit low, Sean Fogerty settled for a point from the rebound. 30 minutes gone and Cork up by two, but stoppages for injuries earlier in the half meant time was left on the clock. Cork continued to turn the ball over when trying to come out of defence and eventually it proved costly. A quick move led to the ball in Damien Kelly’s hands and the corner forward blasted home to the delight of Kerry supporters. Cork tried to lift their game to salvage something, but Padraig Doyle and Kelly added a point each for Kerry before time was up. Cork, who looked like winning some early championship points, will find this one hard to swallow and the rebels will hope to put it behind them when they meet Mayo next week. Kerry’s persistence paid off in the end, and they will need more that attitude as the championship progresses.

Cork: J. O’Toole, J. Leonard, J. Regan, C. Poirer, C. Caffrey, D. Hughes (0-1), S. Caulfield, M. O’Leary, M. Cahilane, T. Kelly, S. Bermingham, M. Moynihan (1-5), A. Boyle. Kerry: D. O’Cruchuir, M. Godley, C. Moore, M. Moriarty, T. Dennehy, T. Fitzgerald, S. Fogerty (0-1), C. O’Sullivan, E. Cummins, P. Bailey, P. Doyle (1-1), I. Whelan, D. Kelly (1-4).

By Rory O'Donnell

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