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2023 McGrath Cup Football – Cork 5-11 Kerry 0-14

January 4, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Cork defeated Kerry by 5-11 to 0-14 in Round 1 of the McGrath Cup Football competition on Wednesday January 4th at Páirc Uí Rinn.

Match Highlights

O’Callaghan guides Cork to comfortable win over Kerry in McGrath Cup opener

Cork 5-11 Kerry 0-14

Report by Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Three years ago, Cork put six goals past Kerry in their 2020 McGrath Cup opener. The 22-point hammering, though, came with a sizable caveat as it was an U20 team put out by Kerry on account of the seniors holidaying abroad.

There was no sizable caveat beside this evening’s 2022 McGrath Cup opener. There was no senior team holiday to explain away Cork’s 12-point winning margin.

Yes, there was an element of callowness to the Kerry team put out by Jack O’Connor, but it was a lineup that still contained only three debutants. It was a lineup that also contained five players who featured in last year’s All-Ireland final win.

The experienced hands, however, were unable to steer those lesser educated at this level.

Cork’s hand was less experimental. Their starting team contained two-thirds of the 15 that began last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat. Add onto that the returning Daniel O’Mahony and Brian O’Driscoll, as well as debutant Conor Corbett.

The latter was pulling on the red shirt for the first time since rupturing his cruciate ligament in the 2021 Munster U20 final. And although the senior newcomer was not among the scorers, he had a direct hand in two of Cork’s five goals.

The second of those was a delicate lob to Brian O’Driscoll for Cork’s opening goal of the second period and fourth overall. Midfielder Colm O’Callaghan supplied their fifth to bring his personal tally for the evening to 2-4.

The second half was a dead affair, the result long decided. Kerry made seven subs at half time. No difference did it make. They managed just two converted frees in the first 25 minutes of the second period.

Back to the first half. That’s where the story of the game lies.

It was a first half of Cork running and Kerry rustiness. It was a first half of Cork goal raids and malfunctioning Kerry restarts. It was a first half where the hosts had almost as many green flag opportunities as Kerry kicked white ones. It was a first half that ended with Cork 3-7 to 0-6 in front. And if we’re to be blunt about it, the visitors were fortunate not to be another three or six behind onto that.

Brian Hurley was the rebound supplier of Cork’s opening goal on six minutes. It came from a superb change of foot and pace from experimental centre-forward Seán Powter. You’d venture a guess that it will become less and less of an experiment and more and more of a permanent move as 2023 grows hair.

Two more goal chances went a begging before Corbett turned over a short Kerry restart on 20 minutes. The senior debutant promptly offloaded to Hurley, who just as promptly offloaded to Chris Óg Jones.

Goal number three was started by midfielder Ian Maguire and finished by his midfield partner O’Callaghan. The latter, who enjoyed a near perfect finish to half, trotted back to the dressing-room with 1-3 beside his name.

Brian O’Driscoll was another busy middle-third Cork operator. He kicked two from play and was also strong in the assists department, as was his half-forward colleague Powter.

Scores were much sparser at the other end. Half of Kerry’s interval total arrived from the deadball. If Cork were surprisingly bold – and bullish – for the first Wednesday of the New Year, then Kerry were surprisingly blunt. The Kingdom has this illogical fascination with trying to find Killian Spillane each time they pressed, and while the corner-forward won an early free and split the posts, Cork soon copped on to Kerry’s one-dimensional approach.

Case in point was Brian O’Driscoll’s 23rd minute white flag, a score that stemmed from five red shirts encircling and relieving Spillane of possession.

Spillane’s inside colleague Darragh Roche flung over two first half beauties. They were probably the sole highlight of a haphazard start to their 2023 season.

In Jack O’Connor’s nine seasons at the helm, he’s rarely tasted such a sizeable defeat. But given the date on the calendar and the personnel absent, he won’t lose too much sleep over this January trimming.

Scorers for Cork: C O’Callaghan (2-4); B Hurley (0-1 free), B O’Driscoll (1-2 each); C Óg Jones (1-1); S Powter, J O’Rourke (0-1).

Scorers for Kerry: T Brosnan (0-6, 0-5 frees); D Roche, D Moynihan (0-2 each); S Murphy (0-1 free), K Spillane, D O’Sullivan, M Burns (0-1 each).

Cork: MA Martin; M Shanley, D O’Mahony, K O’Donovan; R Maguire, S Meehan, M Taylor; C O’Callaghan, I Maguire; E McSweeney, S Powter, B O’Driscoll; C Óg Jones, B Hurley, C Corbett.
Subs: K O’Hanlon for Maguire, J O’Rourke for McSweeney (both 50); T Walsh for O’Donovan, R Deane for Corbett (both 53); L Fahy for Taylor, F Herlihy for Powter, M Cronin for Jones (all 56); C Kiely for R Maguire, S Merritt for O’Callaghan (both 60); C Kelly for Martin, S Sherlock for Hurley (both 64).

Kerry: S Murphy; D Casey, J Foley, J O’Shea; C Gammell, T Morley, J McCarthy; D O’Connor, B O’Sullivan; A Spillane, R Murphy, B Mahony; K Spillane, D Roche, T Brosnan.
Subs: G Horan for McCarthy, J Barry for B O’Sullivan, M Breen for Gammell, T O’Sullivan for Foley, S Okunbor for A Spillane, M Burns for Murphy, D Moynihan for Mahony (all HT); D O’Donoghue for Morley, D O’Sullivan for O’Connor (both 53); D Geaney for K Spillane (57).

Referee: D O’Callaghan (Limerick).

Ticket Information

Adults General Admission – €10
Students / OAPs General Admission (Valid ID Required Upon Entry to Venue) – €5
Under 16s – Free admission when accompanied by an adult
There will be no cash sales at the venue.

Click here to pre-purchase tickets

Live Streaming Information

This game will be streamed live by Munster GAA TV at a cost of 10 euro.

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Team News

Cork: MA Martin (Nemo Rangers) M Shanley (Clonakilty), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers); R Maguire (Castlehaven), S Meehan (Kiskeam), M Taylor (Mallow); C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s); E McSweeney (Knocknagree), S Powter (Douglas), B O’Driscoll (Tadhg Mac Carthaigh); C Óg Jones (Iveleary), B Hurley (Castlehaven) – Captain, C Corbett (Clyda Rovers)
Subs: C Kelly (Éire Óg), T Walsh (Kanturk), C Kiely (Ballincollig), L Fahy (Ballincollig), S Merritt (Mallow), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), K O’Hanlon (Kilshannig), F Herlihy (Doheny’s), R Deane (Bantry Blues), M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s)

Kerry team to play Cork: S Murphy (Dr Crokes); D Casey (Austin Stacks), J Foley (Ballydonoghue), J O’Shea (Austin Stacks); J McCarthy (Kenmare), T Morley (Templenoe) C, C Gammell (Legion); D O’Connor (Na Gaeil), B O’Sullivan (Dingle); A Spillane (Templenoe), R Murphy (Listry), B Mahony (St Senan’s); T Brosnan (Dr Crokes), D Roche (Glenflesk), K Spillane (Templenoe).
Subs: D Burns (Na Gaeil), J Barry (Na Gaeil), T O’Sullivan (Dingle), M Burns (Dr Crokes), D Moynihan (Spa), S Okunbor (Na Gaeil), M Breen (Beaufort), D O’Donoghue (Spa), P Warren (Gneeveguilla), G Horan (Austin Stacks), D O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan), D Geaney (Dingle), R Buckley (Listry), E Horan (Scartaglen).


January 4, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Páirc Uí Rinn
Cork, Ireland + Google Map

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