Cork 5-18 Kerry 1-14 – Waterford Crystal Cup

Cork 5-18 Kerry 1-14

Cork: A. Nash; D. Cahalane (C. Spillane); E. Dillon; C. O’Sullivan (P. O’Brien); C. Joyce; R. Cashman; T. Kenny; C. Naughton (0-3); C. McCarthy (0-5; 0-2f); B. Corry (2-0); P. Cronin (D. Sweetnam 0-1); L. O’Farrell (0-3); P. Horgan (1-3; 0-1f; D. O’Mahony); E. Murphy (1-2); R. Clifford (1-1).

Kerry:  B. Rochford; R. Horgan; T. Murnane; J. Godley; P. Costello; M. Lynch (J. Casey); L. Boyle (C. Harris); D. Dineen (0-2); J. Griffin; S. Brick (0-6f); D. O’Connell (PJ. Connolly); J. Egan (0-2); S. Nolan (0-2); A. Boyle (1-0); M. Boyle (0-1; A. Royle 0-1).

Cork began their competitive year with an easy win over a weak Kerry challenge in Pairc ui Rinn today. In typically heavy wintry conditions, the game was understandably slow and error ridden with the bigger, fitter and more motivated Cork side always likely to come out on top. Although its hard to read too much into pre-season games there were a number of impressive individual performances from Cork and, in the team selection a clear sign from Jimmy Barry-Murphy that Cork are going for a team as physical as possible – the starting of powerful players like Corry, Joyce, Cashman, Cahalane, Dillon and Kenny for example.

For Cork, the likes of Horgan, Sweetnam, Murphy and McCarthy stood out most. Horgan was sharp throughout, first to the ball at all times and was generally Cork’s most impressive forward; alongside him Eoghan Murphy did well with what little high ball he got and took his chances well while Ryan Clifford was lively albeit often too inaccurate when shooting.  Darren Sweetnam came on for an injured Pa Cronin ten minutes in and played a huge amount of ball throughout, grabbing a classy point towards – both he and Cian McCarthy dominated the game in the middle of the pitch, although it should be said the Kerry midfield and center-back were pretty much non-existent throughout. Elsewhere Cork’s half-back line was solid while Luke O’Farrell (not a half-forward) and Cathal Naughton showed some nice flashes without extending a massive amount of influence on the game. In general it was a solid performance from 1-15, although Eoin Dillon seemed to struggle a bit with the Kerry full-forward’s physicality under the dropping ball.

Kerry presumably will be disappointed. Besides the opening ten minutes where their forwards looked lively and capable they were seriously out-matched both physically and in terms of fitness by Cork. Although their forward line looked dangerous on paper Brick offered nothing from play while danger players like Nolan and the Boyles were starved of ball. Their problems stemmed from a ineffective midfield and half-back line that let Sweetnam and Cian McCarthy in particular loose throughout while the full-back line was run ragged by Clifford and Horgan. Nolan, Egan and Dineen showed flashes of class while Rochford pulled off a brilliant save in the dying minutes. All in all a decent win for Cork with some impressive individual performances; we will now play Tipperary in Clonmel next weekend.

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