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05 Jul

Cork and Kerry – An age-old rivalry…

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Posted by Aaron Casey in Features | Jul 2013

Cork and Kerry – An age-old rivalry…

Cork and Kerry meet this Sunday for the 14th time in Championship Football since 2006. In those 14 games Kerry have been the victors 7 times, Cork have taken the honours 4 times and there have been 3 draws. The first real 21st century renewal of the age-old Cork-Kerry rivalry took place in Killarney on the 9th of July 2006. From here on, LiveGaelic’s Aaron Casey looks at some of the most captivating clashes between these counties.

Kerry 0-10 Cork 0-10, Munster Final 2006, Killarney

Kerry came into this game as hot-favourites to win back Sam Maguire from Tyrone and roll over Cork in the process, but Cork football legend Billy Morgan was never going to let his Cork team give Kerry anything easy. On a glorious hot day in Fitzgerald Stadium a fired-up Cork team frightened an out-of-sorts Kerry. Cork’s blistering start had them 0-5 to 0-1 up after 15 minutes. It looked like the game had changed when Cork’s Anthony Lynch got sent-off after an attempted elbow on Kieran Donaghy. Cork went in at half-time 0-7 to 0-4 up, with James Masters kicking most of Cork’s scores from frees and Declan O’Sullivan getting Kerry’s only point from play in the 1st half. Kerry, a man up on Cork and playing with the wind, were fancied to eventually overpower Cork in the 2nd half, but Cork’s damage limitation was admirable and through frees kept in touch with Kerry’s comeback. The odds were evened when Kieran Donaghy was dismissed in the 54th minute. A late point from Brian Sheehan put Kerry a point in front before Masters struck the final score of the day from a placed ball to leave the scores at 0-10 each. Masters looked to have won it with a late point, but referee Joe McQuillan deemed it correctly wide.

Kerry 1-15 Cork 1-13, Munster Final 2007, Killarney

Cork came into this game as Munster Champions, with Cork winning the replay of the 2006 Munster Final in Pairc Ui Caoimh 1-12 to 0-9. Later on in that summer a back-in-form Kerry team easily beat the Rebels 0-16 to 0-10 in the All-Ireland semi-final. So the 2007 Munster Final in a once-again sunny Fitzgerald Stadium was a very interesting clash for supporter or neutral. The game was even before Michael Cussen at full-forward for Cork caught two high balls and pointed twice to leave Cork in front. Kerry responded with points from Mike Frank-Russell and 2006 Footballer of the Year Kieran Donaghy. Pearse O’ Neill stormed into the game and with his help Cork went in at the break 0-9 to 0-7 up. Kerry leveled the scores at the start of the 2nd half with points from Russell and Colm Cooper. Then it suddenly became the Colm Cooper show, he notched 1-1 within minutes to change the course of the game and leave Kerry ahead by 1-9 to 0-9. Kerry’s lead was strengthened with a free from Russell. Now it was Cork’s time to shine as Pearse O’ Neill pointed and a great goal by Donncha O’ Connor. Masters and O’ Connor pointed a free each to leave the game level. Russell for the Kingdom and Masters for the Rebels traded frees and then the pivotal moment of the game occurred. Derek Kavanagh had the ball with the goal at his mercy, despite being fouled by a Kerry defender he kicked his attempt wide. As quick as a flash, Kieran Donaghy struck a huge score to put Kerry a point up and the insurance point for the Kingdom came through Sean O’ Sullivan. Full-time score Kerry 1-15 Cork 1-13.

Cork 1-16 Kerry 1-11, Munster Final 2008, Pairc Ui Caoimh

You wouldn’t think it when looking at the final scoreline, but the 1st half of this game was one of, if not the worst Munster Final performance of a Cork football team. In a 1st half that saw Kerry completely dominate Cork, with an embarrassing half-time scoreline for any blood and bandage supporter. Kerry 1-8 Cork 0-3. Kerry shined in the 1st half when Donncha Walsh goaled after a good pass from Kieran Donaghy and they began to humiliate Cork. Their total dominance in the 1st half must have left Cork supporters despondent, but Conor Counihan had the answer. He brought on Michael Cussen at half-time at full-forward and he immediately made his presence felt by breaking balls and scoring a point. Kerry kept up their lead in the 2nd half with a brilliant point from Tomas O’ Se. Soon after Nicholas Murphy misjudged a tackle on Seamus Scanlon and this lead to him being sent-off as it was a 2nd yellow card offence. Cork were beginning to get a grip around Midfield all the same with some great work by Pearse O’ Neill curbing the influence of the previously-dominant Darragh O’ Se. The game turned in the Rebels favour in the 50th minute when a long ball was touched into the net by Michael Cussen. Soon after this Marc O’ Se received a straight red card after what some said was a harmless foul on Cork’s Sean O’ Brien. With just over 10 Minutes remaining substitute James Masters put Cork into the lead. From here on in the Rebels played in Fifth gear with points galore, including one from a young Paul Kerrigan. Kerry’s day was worsened when Darragh O’ Se got sent off on a 2nd yellow card for an off-the-ball incident.

Cork 3-7 Kerry 1-13, All-Ireland Semi-Final 2008, Croke Park

This was the most freakish Cork-Kerry game of the lot. Daniel Goulding goaled for Cork in the 13th minute to put Cork a point up. This was canceled out when Donaghy rattled the net for Kerry soon afterwards. Kerry then struck began to dominate but some poor finishing only had them a point ahead of Cork at the break, Kerry 1-5 Cork 1-4. The 2nd half began and within minutes Darragh O’ Se was sent-off for another off-the-ball incident. From here Kerry rallied and took complete hold of the game. 12 minutes after O’ Se’s sending-off Cork’s Donncha O’ Connor joined him when he got red-carded after an innocuous tap on the face of Aidan O’ Mahony. Cork went into the last four minutes of the game having scored 1 point in the 2nd half, at this stage they were 1-13 to 1-5 down. Cue madness for the rest of the game which began through John Miskella who ran up the field and pointed, a John Hayes free and then a fisted goal by substitute James Masters. Cork were now 3 points down with little time remaining on the clock. Graham Canty was brought down in the penalty area and referee Joe McQuillan awarded the penalty. Cork corner-forward John Hayes cooly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to level the game. Kerry’s Killian Young had a last chance to win it, but his shot hit off the post to end the game and the most intriguing ten minutes ever seen in Croke Park.

Kerry 0-16 Cork 1-9, All-Ireland Final 2009, Croke Park

Cork had a dream start to this game with Colm O’ Neill rippling the net early on and with 10 minutes gone Cork were up 1-3 to 0-1. This sparked Kerry into one of the best defensive performances ever seen in an All-Ireland Final. On 20 minutes the score was 1-4 to 0-5 with Kerry reacting well to O’ Neill’s goal. Tadhg Kennelly nullified the influence of Cork’s key man Graham Canty. Declan O’ Sullivan was showing well for Kerry at full-forward and Cooper kept the scoreboard ticking over with his points from frees. Darran O’ Sullivan and Paul Galvin were running Cork ragged. Before half-time you could sense that Kerry’s experience was at play here and they played with and dominated Cork with assured, economical play.. At half-time the Kingdom were leading 0-11 to 1-6. Cork in the 2nd half took over at Midfield and had a lot of possession. This was no use to Cork as though as poor play resulted in wide upon wide. In the time the Cork forwards kicked wides, Kerry went two more points up through a Colm Cooper free and a point from Darran O’ Sullivan (who was lucky to get away with a double-bounce before he took his shot). Donncha O’ Connor pointed for Cork on 50 minutes and soon after Kerry keeper’ Diarmuid Murphy made a great save from a Daniel Goulding shot. Goulding then pointed in the 55th minute to leave a point in it. Kerry’s response was fitting to their stature, with two great points from Tommy Walsh and a rampaging Tomas O’ Se point left them 4 points up. A lead which they held for the rest of the game. Kerry’s stand-out performers were Kennelly (who struck 2 great points), Galvin and Walsh. Cork’s 10 2nd half wides proved to be their downfall and that’s not to take away from Kerry’s brilliant defence who won the Kingdom their 36th All-Ireland.

Hopefully Sunday’s game can live up to these games. Cork haven’t won a Championship game in Killarney since 1995. Both teams are keeping things quiet and are coming in under the radar. Kerry will be eager to impress their new manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Cork are looking to address their last 2 years of underachievement. I’ll take the easy way out and call this game as a draw.

For more from author Aaron Casey, check out his blog at aaroncasey.blog.com.

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