A superb display from Cork saw them triumphantly overcome Kerry in a compelling Munster Championship clash at Pairc Uí Chaóimh on Saturday.

Cork were outstanding in the first half and led 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time.

However, Kerry came roaring back after the restart and hit five points in a row before Donncha O'Connor's penalty restored Cork's advantage.

Things were tight for much of the second half but eventually Cork's superior fitness and zip overwhelmed Kerry, and they raced to glory with ease, the eight-point margin of victory in no way flattering.

The game threatened to be marred by the first-half dismissals of Noel O'Leary and Paul Galvin for some off the ball theatrics, but in the end it had no real impact as Cork showed they were significantly the superior side.

The opening score was pure Kerry, a sweeping move up the field involving Marc Ó Sé and the brilliant Declan O'Sullivan, and ending up being kicked sweet as a nut over the bar by Bryan Sheehan.

Sheehan tacked on a free soon after to put Kerry two up and they had clearly settled quicker than a tense Cork.

Donncha O'Connor popped over a handy free for Cork soon after to get them on the board, and when Anthony Lynch won two crucial balls in battle with Colm Cooper soon after, Rebel tails were up.

O'Connor then levelled things up with a sublime right-footer, before Daniel Goulding followed up with an almost identical point to push Cork in front.

Suddenly, the edginess was all Kerry's as Sheehan pushed a free wide and O'Connor thumped over his third point.

Then, the rapid Cork half-back line plundered its first point with John Miskella rampaging up the field and knocking it over to put three between the sides.

Then, in a predictable enough twist, the two red cards came.

Galvin and O'Leary were the two who were dismissed, seemingly with Galvin elbowing O'Leary and the Corkman retaliating with a punch.

The punch left Galvin on the ground but referee Pat McEnaney was quick to act, dismissing both.

The incident had little impact on Cork's flowing vibrancy though and Patrick Kelly hammered one over the bar to put four in it.

Cooper then finally won something off Lynch, being tugged back and knocking over the resultant free.

Cork should have been more than three in front at that stage but they managed to extend the lead to five before half-time.

A nifty score from Paul Kerrigan, a free from the outstanding O'Connor and one from Goulding completed the Cork scoring for the opening period, with the hardworking Tadhg Kennelly getting Kerry's final point of the half.

Kerry brought on David Moran for Marc Ó Sé at half-time, with Moran moving to midfield and Tommy Griffin moving into defence.

Straight from the restart, Kerry fashioned a clearcut goal chance. Darran O'Sullivan, a substitute on for Sheehan, burned in brilliantly from the right and fizzed one over the bar but he really could and should have hit the net.

Immediately after, Declan O'Sullivan hit his first of the day, a similar effort to Darran's, cutting in with pace and knocking over. It looked like the tide was turning, and turning dramatically.

Cooper then reduced the gap to two points with a free and although Cork had a brief glimmer at stopping the Kerry run, Goulding missed a free wildly.

Dara Ó Sé put one in it when he raced up the right wing and sailed one between the posts and Kerry levelled at 0-9 apiece when Moran powered over a technically perfect '45.

Just as a nerveless Kerry seemed to be forcing Cork to wilt by the sheer force of who they were, the Rebels responded. Goulding was fouled in the small parallelogram and O'Connor nicked the penalty into the net off the post.

Somehow, Cork had survived the blitz and came out almost stronger. A Goulding free straight after the penalty put four in it and it was harsh on Kerry, that for all their renewed vigour, they still were well behind.

Cooper quickly reduced the gap with two quick frees though, and the urgency to Kerry's play was seriously upsetting a Cork team which looked a shadow of the side that had outclassed The Kingdom in the opening period.

But a classy score from James Masters put a goal between them again and then Paul O'Flynn, fresh off the Cork bench, left Cork four clear.

Seconds later, Goulding had a fantastic chance to kill Kerry once and for all with a clear run on goal but his effort clipped the timber and went wide.

Still, Cork had truly clipped Kerry's wings and an O'Connor free restored the five point advantage they had at the break.

Darran O'Sullivan's second point could have been a goal but it went over and left four in it, but once again Cork responded, Goulding knocking over another score and leaving Tom O'Sullivan flailing on the ground to boot.

Fintan Gould then raced through athletically and flashed one over, Goulding then added another and it seemed that Kerry were beat, confirmed with one final, potent effort from Miskella.

Cork: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, A Lynch; J Miskella, G Canty, N O'Leary; A O’Connor, N Murphy; P Kelly, P O’Neill, P Kerrigan; D Goulding, J Masters, D O’Connor.

Kerry: D Murphy; M Ó Sé, T O'Sullivan, P Reidy; T Ó Sé, A O'Mahony, K Young; D Ó Sé, T Griffin; P Galvin, D O'Sullivan, T Kennelly; C Cooper, T Walsh, B Sheehan.