Mark Keane has helped Cork footballers turn a corner says hero from 1983 

Mark Keane has helped Cork footballers turn a corner says hero from 1983 

Mark Keane puts the ball past Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan for a late, late winner last weekend. Picture: George Hatchell

YOUNG Mark Keane need have no worries about his place in Cork football folklore after his last-gasp goal in the Munster semi-final win over Kerry at Pairc Ui Chaoimh last Sunday.

That’s according to Tadgh Murphy, who is still reminded of his similar feat in the provincial final in 1983.

“Whatever else he does in the future this is going to live with him because Cork and Kerry games take on a life of their own regardless of how good or bad each team is. It’s a game that captures the Cork imagination of all followers.

“As everyone knows Cork hurlers are the number one, but everyone is also tuned in for Cork-Kerry games in football. It’s going to live with him and Mark’s going to be reminded of his goal every time,” Murphy said.

The 20-years-old Mitchelstown native created a wave of interest, too, in his Aussie Rules club, Collingwood, who posted the dramatic goal on their website.

Tadhg Murphy punches the ball to the net past Kerry goalkeeper Charlie Nelligan.
Tadhg Murphy punches the ball to the net past Kerry goalkeeper Charlie Nelligan.

And the towering forward, who moved down under in the summer of 2018 and recently signed a two-year deal, also made headlines on a number of Aussie news outlets.

Murphy reckons the pandemic and lockdown meant everybody in Cork was watching it on TV.

“I’d say if you checked the Richter Scale the time of the goal it probably went off the charts.

“Every house in Cork leapt out of their skins. I was watching it with my wife Catherine and sure we went ballistic,” Murphy commented.

And he had a sense of a repeat of 37 years ago as Kerry clung to the most dangerous lead of all with time almost up.

“I know it’s wise after the event but I could feel something was going to happen. I was on Radio Kerry last week with Jack O’Shea previewing the game and we were saying logically it had to be Kerry all the way.

“They had won Division 1 and Cork Division 3, but Cork and Kerry games take a life of their own.

“The big thing from my point of view is that Cork were really up for it. I was reading what Mark Collins was saying in the build-up and I thought he was truly outstanding on the day.

“He was making the point that for Cork to move forward and maintain their progress they needed to beat one of the big teams.

“I was reading between the lines and felt Cork were really going to be up for this one. I thought they brought that attitude and intensity to it and I don’t think Kerry were ready for it.

“I thought Sean Meehan was sensational and reminded me of Kevin Moran starting out with the Dubs, up and down the pitch.”

Tadhg Murphy and Mark Keane celebrate.
Tadhg Murphy and Mark Keane celebrate.

Back in ’83, Cork drew with Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park but lost the replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh with the Dubs going on to defeat Galway in the final.

Murphy believes Cork football may have turned a corner.

“Overall, I think Cork football could be in a good place following the minor and U20 All-Irelands because winning at that level is a fantastic habit and gives the players great confidence.

“They played with no fear and just drove into it. I don’t think Kerry were expecting that kind of challenge. Overall Cork were huge value for the win, even though it came with that late goal.”

Kerry manager Peter Keane came under pressure for his approach in the way he set his side and were considered too defensive.

“I think the one thing about that is Cork maybe corralled them into that situation. Cork had a very good game plan of focussing on stopping the Kerry runs, stopping them going forward and generally frustrating them.”

Cork meet Tipp in the final on Sunday week and Murphy expects Ronan McCarthy’s charges to be ready.

“I’ve no doubt Ronan will be dropping the temperature and getting lads’ feet back on the ground to focus on a different challenge altogether. Cork will have to be up for that game as well because the players will know every game is different.

“I think the knock-out system suits Cork because there’s no comeback this year and that’s a big, big difference. Kerry are gone now,” Murphy concluded.

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