Cork v Kerry: A rivalry like no other

Off The Ball's Garrett Lavin charts the ebb and flow of the battle between Munster's giants

BY Garrett Lavin 09:15 Sunday 5 July 2015, 9:15 5 Jul 2015

Tim Kennelly of Kerry looks on as his team conceed another point against Cork in 1983 ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Rebels versus the Kingdom is a football rivalry like no other. One could argue that Kerry v Dublin is more significant but when one think of great rivalries Cork v Kerry is up there. The two juggernauts of Munster football face so often yet you cannot help but feel joy at their battles. Often their battles are of epic proportion with attractive football a given when these two sides face off.

The history of this rivalry is one of Kerry dominance but Cork is finally beginning to even out the contest.

After 1909, Cork went 35 years without beating Kerry. By the 1950s and 1960s, Cork were consistently challenging for Munster honours and, by 1973, when they took the Sam Maguire home to the Lee, nobody could have predicted they were on the verge of another black hole. That, of course, was down to Kerry's unprecedented quality and invincibility. Eight provincial championships in a row for Kerry meant much of the steam was taken out of the provincial championship.

Kerry v Cork is our live game on Off The Ball this Sunday with commentary from Oisin Langan, Colm Parkinson and James Horan.

By 1983, only 17,000 turned up in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to see how the local boys would fare against a Kerry team, who had come within two minutes of an historic five All-Irelands in a row the previous September. Séamus Darby's goal became one of the most famous feats in GAA history and delivered the message to Cork footballers that their neighbours were not unbeatable.

In the last ten meetings between the sides Kerry have the upper hand winning seven, with two of those being All-Ireland Final’s.

Cork head west hoping to bridge a 20-year gap since they beat the Kingdom in Fitzgerald Stadium. Not one of the Cork team or panel tomorrow has beaten Kerry in Killarney. Has to be something there you say, but what is it? Is it myth or bad timing? Or has it anything to do with the high number of draws these teams have had in Killarney?

The focus in Cork is on whether they can show any signs they are finally ready to translate their dominance at U21 level to consistent success at senior level.

The question for Cork now is can they overcome what seems to be the mental block that is getting over the line in Killarney or will the wait continue for Cork to get one over their bitterest of rivals.


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