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2022 McGrath Cup Football Final – Kerry 2-17 Cork 0-11
Kerry defeated Cork by 2-17 to 0-11 in the McGrath Cup Football Final on Saturday January 22nd at Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney.
— StreamSport.ie (@StreamsportI) January 22, 2022
Kerry crush Cork to claim first trophy of new Jack O’Connor era
Report by Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Kerry 2-17 Cork 0-11
Kerry’s latest hammering of the Cork senior footballers has delivered the county a first McGrath Cup since 2017 and a first piece of silverware under Jack O’Connor in 11 years.
While not quite reaching the 22-point margin they had to spare over Cork in last July’s Munster final, Kerry were again on a different stratosphere to their neighbours during this afternoon’s one-sided pre-season final.
With manager O’Connor having once more put out a team that won’t be far off what their championship 15 will be, Kerry backed up their 22 and 21-point annihilations of Limerick and Tipperary respectively with this hugely comfortable 12-point triumph.
Defensively, Kerry were organised and unrelenting at the back. Highlighting this was the fact that only two of Cork’s starting front eight found the mark across the 70 minutes, with only two other Cork players writing their names on the scoresheet.
With the result decided by half-time, as Kerry led by 10, their greatest spell of supremacy arrived between the 38th and 51st minute, during which they held Cork scoreless while themselves kicking six-in-a-row to open up a 2-15 to 0-6 advantage.
On the mark for the winners here were the usual suspects of Sean O’Shea (free), Paudie Clifford, Tony Brosnan (free), and Jack Savage, with David Clifford throwing over a brace shortly after his introduction.
Indeed, was it not for Cork goalkeeper Michéal Martin, Kerry could well have added a bag of second-half goals to this sprinkling of white flags.
They had no such problem in finding the net in the opening period as goals at the beginning and end of the first-half were at the root of Kerry’s 2-9 to 0-5 interval advantage.
In all honesty, Kerry’s first-half goal count should have been double what it was at the break as Paul Geaney smashed a low effort against the post in the first quarter, while later in the half, Tony Brosnan handled possession on the 20-metre line when Kerry had an extra man inside the cover.
The home side’s opening goal of this McGrath Cup final, which had to be delayed by five minutes such was the turnstile congestion close to 2pm, was supplied by corner-back Tom O’Sullivan inside four minutes.
Having been the provider for O’Sullivan’s green flag, Geaney assumed the role of finisher for Kerry’s second goal on 32 minutes after a superb cross-goal pass from Micheál Burns.
Geaney’s 1-3 first-half contribution – all bar a late mark of this tally coming from play – was a microcosm for Cork’s defensive struggles in the face of Kerry’s blended attacking play.
Far fewer holes were being found up the other end of the field as Cork were repeatedly turned back by an organised and disciplined Kerry rearguard.
The greatest example of that came on the quarter-hour mark as Cork went back and forth across the 45-metre line, unable to find a way past the green and gold wall in front of them. Cian Kiely eventually lofted in a high ball on top of Brian Hurley that ended up wide.
Hurley, to his credit, was the sole Cork forward causing any sort of problems for Kerry. He landed three first-half points, two of those from play.
The visitors, who were guilty of several unforced errors throughout, were outscored by 1-2 to 0-1 during Kevin O’Donovan’s 10 minutes in the sin bin between the 23rd and 33rd minute. Indeed, this 1-2 was part of an unanswered Kerry 1-4 at the end of the first-half.
Following O’Sullivan’s early goal, Cork never came closer than three points in this desperately lopsided final.
Cork will be hoping – and demanding – much, much better from themselves when they travel to Roscommon next Sunday for their opening game of the Division 2 League. Kerry, in fine early season fettle, head for Kildare.
Scorers for Kerry: P Geaney (1-4, 0-1 mark); T O’Sullivan (1-0); T Brosnan (0-3, 0-2 frees); S O’Shea (0-2 frees), P Clifford, K Spillane, J Savage, D Clifford (0-2 each).
Scorers for Cork: B Hurley (0-5, 0-2 frees); M Cronin (0-3, 0-1 free); R Maguire (0-2); D Dineen (0-1).
Kerry: S Murphy; D O’Donoghue, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; P Murphy, T Morley, G White; S O’Shea, A Spillane; M Burns, P Clifford, S O’Brien; T Brosnan, P Geaney, K Spillane.
Subs: J Savage for O’Brien (6 mins, inj); G Crowley for Murphy, B Ó Beaglaoich for O’Donoghue (both HT); G Horan for Spillane, D Clifford for Brosnan (46); G O’Sullivan for White (50); D Casey for Crowley, P O’Shea for P Clifford (both 55); D Roche for K Spillane, C Gammell for T O’Sullivan (62).
Cork: M Martin; S Powter, K Histon, T Corkery; R Maguire, J Cooper, M Taylor; C Kiely, J Grimes; K O’Donovan, B Murphy, C O’Callaghan; M Cronin, B Hurley, C Óg Jones.
Subs: D Gore for Murphy (33 mins); L Connolly for Gore (inj), D Buckley for O’Donovan (both HT); D Dineen for Jones, D O’Connell for Kiely (both 47); K Flahive for Histon (50, inj); S Merritt for Grimes (52); K Crowley for Cooper (53); P Allen for Corkery (55); P Ring for Powter (62).
Referee: N Quinn (Clare).
2022 McGrath Cup Football Final
Kerry v Cork at 2pm
Venue: Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney
Referee: Niall Quinn (Clare)
Result on the Day (Penalties if required after normal time)
A further 3,000 tickets will go on sale from 9pm on Friday January 21st via
Ticket Prices – General Admission €10, Under 16s €5
This game will be live streamed by Munster GAA.
— StreamSport.ie (@StreamsportI) January 18, 2022
— Cork GAA (@OfficialCorkGAA) January 21, 2022
CORK (SF v Kerry): Míchéal Martin (Nemo Rangers); Sean Powter (Douglas), Kieran Histon (Nemo Rangers), Tadhg Corkery (Cill na Martra); Rory Maguire (Castlehaven), John Cooper (Eire Óg), Matthew Taylor (Mallow); Cian Kiely (Ballincollig) Joe Grimes (Clonakilty); Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), Blake Murphy (St. Vincent’s), Colm O’Callaghan (Eire Óg); Mark Cronin, (Nemo Rangers), Brian Hurley (Castlehaven), Chris Óg Jones (Iveleary).
Subs: Christopher Kelly (Eire Óg), Paudie Allen (Newmarket), Kevin Flahive (Douglas) Paul Ring (Aghabullogue), Shane Merrit (Mallow), Daniel O’Connell (Kanturk) David Buckley (Newcestown), Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers), Damien Gore (Kilmacabea), Daniel Dineen (Cill na Martra), Kevin Crowley (Millstreet).
Team Announcement: Kerry vs Cork – McGrath Cup Final
— Kerry GAA (@Kerry_Official) January 21, 2022
KERRY (SF v Cork) – S Murphy; D O’Donoghue, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; P Murphy, T Morley, G White; S O’Shea, A Spillane; M Burns, P Clifford, S O’Brien; T Brosnan, P Geaney, K Spillane.
Subs: S Ryan, D Clifford, G Crowley, B Ó Beaglaíoch, G O’Sullivan, D Roche, J Savage, G Horan, P O’Shea, J O’Shea, C Gammell, E Ó Conchúir, A Donoghue, D Casey
Pick up a copy of the souvenir match programme on Saturday for 2 euro.