David Clifford is pure class but Ruairi Deane restores Cork's pride 1 month ago

David Clifford is pure class but Ruairi Deane restores Cork's pride

Kerry 1-19 Cork 3-10

At least the Rebels have restored some pride.

Kerry have won their seventh Munster senior championship in a row but credit goes to Cork who really made them sweat over it. Eventually, the Kingdom's clinical finishing told but the Rebels never gave up out there and they will head into the qualifiers with plenty of optimism.

With David Clifford and Seanie O'Shea kicking early points, you really did fear for Cork. The wind was against them and Tomás Ó Sé was commentating like a man who had pity for them. Páirc Uí Chaoimh was flat and a number of players in red were struggling.

This could get ugly, you felt.

Ronan McCarthy's team played themselves into it eventually though. In a weirdly but enjoyably open game, the Rebels got plenty of change in that first half from running straight at the Kerry defence.

Ruairí Deane was leading the charge. The plucky Bantry Blues club man knows no way other than the shortest way and he was running hard. In front of him, Kerry's last line were creaking. Deane could and probably should have had a goal, but it's hard enough to fault a man who tries as hard as he does.

But the difference between the teams was clear. Where Mark Collins and Luke Connolly missed some chances, David Clifford, Sean O'Shea and Dara Moynihan were nowhere near as remorseful.

Kerry didn't kick a wide in that first half.

Tom O'Sullivan was running riot too. With Paul Kerrigan a little sluggish in his tracking back, the notoriously attacking number four bombed on with glee. He tore into acres for his goal, he could have had a second too before he opted for the point.

1-1 from play in 35 minutes, the bar raised for corner backs everywhere.

But Luke Connolly kept Cork alive. After missing a chance moments earlier, he palmed to the net after being set up by the dogged Deane. They tacked on another to go in trailing by only six. They'd have the breeze in the second half. A chance? Maybe we were clutching.

But Cork came out inspired in the second. Sean White and Killian O'Hanlon were driving forward and Kerry couldn't cope with their searing runs.

Connolly's finely dispatched penalty had Kerry bums tightening. Then Mark Collins arrived to the party to leave only three between them.

Cork's football fraternity were roaring for the first time in a long time. Diarmuid O'Connor and then David Clifford quietened them. How were Kerry not giving every single ball to the Fossa man? He scored 0-4 from play and looked like scoring every time he got the ball.

But then came Brian Hurley. He showed tremendous bravery to punch in with Shane Ryan lining him up from behind and that had Cork level.

Despite losing Geaney to a seemingly harsh red card, Kerry kicked on though. Stephen O'Brien came to life and David Clifford kept on dancing as the Cork men tired. Micheál Burns kicked a late point and Seanie O'Shea slotted a free.

The Kingdom held on despite a late Cork onslaught.

At least they restored some pride though. Nobody more than Ruairi Deane.

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