"Once we got going we played some great football"
By Rory Noonan
Cork 3-16 Kerry 0-9
Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald said they still have plenty of work to do before they meet Waterford in the TG4 Munster SFC final.
Fitzgerald’s side were in control throughout as they saw off Kerry in the semi-final at Pairc Ui Rinn but he feels they still have room for improvement despite this impressive victory.
“The win keeps our good run going and any day you score 3-16 you have to be happy overall. But in the first-half I thought some of our play was a bit sloppy and not at the standard we expect.
“We were not anywhere near our best and gave the ball away at times too easily,” said Fitzgerald.
His side led by 1-6 to 0-1 at the break, with Saoirse Noonan getting the goal and Orla Finn shooting all their points, and then pulled away in the second-half when Kerry had to commit more players going forward.
Fitzgerald said it took Cork some time to get moving but he was pleased with the way they performed once they got up and running.
“I suppose sometimes it can be hard to get motivated for a game when you know that effectively you are in the Munster final before you even start."
“I must admit I found it hard to get motivated myself ahead of the game, but having said that I thought once we got going we played some great football.
“Kerry were very defensive and made it difficult for us to break down, especially early on, but once we got the first goal I thought it started to open up a bit more.
“We changed around a few players for this one and that took a bit of time to gel, but I have said before that I think we have a strong squad overall this year and there is no point in having them if you are not going to play them.
“But it's great to be in the final and defend the title against Waterford in a few weeks,” added Fitzgerald.
Finn and Noonan increased Cork's lead shortly after the break with Aoife O'Callaghan replying for Kerry.
And 42 minutes gone Cork got their second goal, when Libby Coppinger caught a long ball in from Ciara O'Sullivan to turn and blast to the back of the net to make it 2-9 to 0-3.
Rhona Ni Bhuachalla, Finn and Aine O'Sullivan all pointed for Cork, with Ní Mhuircheartaigh replying for Kerry.
With time running out Cork led 2-16 to 0-9, but they weren't finished yet.
In the last minute a superbly worked move, involving several players, saw O'Sullivan get their third goal to round off an easy win for Cork.
Scorers - Cork: O Finn 0-9 (7f), S Noonan 1-2, L Coppinger, A O'Sullivan 1-1 each, R Ni Bhuachalla 0-2, E Kiely 0-1.
Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-5 (5f), A O'Callaghan 0-2, N Carmody, L Scanlon 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Brien; C O’Shea, E Meaney, M Duggan; S Kelly, A Hutchings, E Kiely; O Farmer, M O’Callaghan; C O’Sullivan, N Cotter, D Kiely; E Scally, S Noonan, O Finn.
Subs: L Coppinger for D Kiely (ht), H Looney for C O'Shea (39), R Ni Bhucahalla for S Noonan (45), A O'Sullivan for N Cotter (47), L O'Mahony for O Farmer (52).
KERRY: L Fitzgerald; T Breen, L Coughlan, C O’Brien; K Cronin, A O’Connell, C Murphy; L Scanlon, N Carmody; S Houlihan, A Brosnan, A Galvin; L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, B Ryan, A Foley.
Subs: A O'Callaghan for A Galvin (ht), A O'Reilly for B Ryan (49), M O'Keeffe for A Brosnan (57).
Ref - John Murphy (Tipperary).