By Jackie Cahill
Graham Shine hailed his TG4 Munster champions after Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh scored two late points to seal victory for Kerry over Waterford in Saturday's Mallow decider.
With the sides level late on, flame-haired ace Ní Mhuircheartaigh took matters into her own hands to drag the Kingdom across the line, as they ran out 1-14 to 3-6 winners against gritty Waterford.
In a gripping finish, Waterford moved ahead with a run of 1-1 without reply, Grainne Kenneally scoring a vital goal to help establish a 3-5 to 1-10 lead.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh then levelled matters with a free before Maria Delahunty inched Waterford, who had beaten Kerry in the round-robin series, ahead again.
But that proved to be Waterford's last score as Laura Rogers levelled matters, before Ní Mhuircheartaigh's late brace sealed the deal.
In what was a repeat of the 2003 final between the counties, Kerry won their first Munster senior crown since 2015 - and their third in five seasons.
Waterford, back in the final for the first time in ten years, were denied their first provincial win since 2002.
Shine said on Sunday: "We had a good night in Killarney!
"We had to dig deep, we knew that, we knew they'd be a hungry team, hard to break down with that defensive system.
"We got caught on the counter-attack and let in a couple of soft goals.
"There's a lot to work on but we won't be going with stats today - it's all about the win."
During his two years as Kerry U-16 boss, before taking the senior job, Shine presided over Munster and All-Ireland titles.
And he reflected: "We have a great bunch of girls - we had girls well into their career and girls starting out, at 16 years of age, on the panel."
For Kerry, this was a successful revenge mission, after Pat Sullivan's Waterford had beaten them in the round-robin phase.
Shine said: "That day below in Dungarvan, I thought our year wasn't going great.
"Then it turned around, beat Cork and won a Munster final.
"We're straight into an All-Ireland quarter-final - we can focus on that now, and not worry about anything else."
The sides were deadlocked at half-time, 0-6 to 1-3, after goalkeeper Katie Hannon netted a penalty for Waterford.
Kerry opened the second half with real intent, lancing three points in a row, but Delahunty's 41st minute goal had Waterford level at 2-3 to 0-9.
Kerry's response was immediate, Sarah Houlihan netting within a minute, but Waterford refused to die.
Aofie Murray's point kept them in touch and when Kenneally found the net, they were dreaming of ending a 15-year provincial senior drought.
But Graham Shine's Kerry held their nerve to advance to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, as Waterford head for the qualifiers, and a date with Laois or Cavan.
Meanwhile, Tipp retained their intermediate title, scoring a 4-9 to 1-14 victory over Clare, in what was a repeat of last year's decider.
Ailish Considine's goal helped Clare to lead by 1-10 to 0-4 at half-time but the Premier County came roaring back with a flurry of goals.
Aisling McCarthy and Roisin Howard were both on target - as lethal attacker Aishling Moloney bagged a brace.