Beating Kerry with a goal in the last minute... it doesn't get better for Rebels 

Beating Kerry with a goal in the last minute... it doesn't get better for Rebels 

Mark Keane of Cork celebrates after scoring his side's winning goal against Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork 1-12 Kerry 0-13 (after extra time)

MARK Keane smashed home a goal with the last kick of extra time to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Cork-Kerry rivalry.

A looping shot from Luke Connolly to force penalties dropped short and Keane, a professional Aussie Rules player with Collingwood, grabbed the goal with shades of Tadhgie Murphy's 1983 effort. Keane, from Mitchelstown, was only added to the panel in recent weeks in the off-season from the AFL.

U20 graduate Seán Meehan made a lovely burst to carry possession deep into enemy territory, while another rookie Damien Gore combined with Meehan to send the ball back to Connolly before he punted it in. Keane did the rest, for Cork's first win over the Kingdom since 2012.

It was no more than Cork deserved, coming from two points down to force extra time and the same margin in the closing stages. An extremely tricky Connolly free on the left wing after Mark Collins was fouled trimmed the gap to 0-13 to 0-12 in the 86th minute.

A wild David Moran shot when Kerry should have kept possession in the closing stages gave Cork one last chance. And boy did they take it!
The reward is a Munster final against Tipp in the two weeks, with the winner into an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo or Galway in December. 

Kerry had actually looked a bit more controlled in extra time. The energy Killian Spillane added was significant and he finished with 0-4 from play. 

Even well-policed by U20 All-Ireland winner Maurice Shanley, David Clifford was a handful and smashed over a wonder point from the acutest of angles. The Kingdom looked like they'd create more chances, as they had across the opening 70-odd minutes and duly did.

Ian Maguire and Seán Powter, both superb in normal time, hobbled off. The inspirational Killian O'Hanlon was gone at half-time of the additional 20 minutes. Cork were a bit flat in extra-time, which was entirely understandable given what they'd put in to grind out the 0-10 apiece draw.

Losing O'Hanlon and Maguire robbed them of aerial prowess but in the end, it didn't matter. The massive work Ronan McCarthy and Cian O'Neill have put in paid off, boosted by minor and U20 All-Ireland wins last season to aid confidence.

Sean Powter is fouled by Gavin White and Paul Murphy of Kerry for the late free which Mark Collins converted. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Sean Powter is fouled by Gavin White and Paul Murphy of Kerry for the late free which Mark Collins converted. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Cork knew exactly what Kerry were going to bring on the basis of their two recent league outings, a more pragmatic, counter-attacking approach with bodies behind the ball, so they matched it. 

It was 0-2 apiece at the first water-break, Clifford and Ronan Buckley for Kerry, though Martin had to be alert to deny Brian Ó Beaglaíoch a goal, Brian Hurley and Mark Collins at the other end. There was a gap between Cork's two-man inside attack of Hurley and Colm O'Callaghan, and they were starved of possession for spells with the half-forward line filtering back to clog up the channels.

In the third quarter, Clifford curled over a typically classy point and while O'Callaghan found Seán Powter on the run to level, Kerry got the next two scores through Dara Moynihan and a Clifford free: 0-5 to 0-3 after 26 minutes. The danger was they'd raise the green flag that would force Cork to chase the game.  

Instead came a 10-minute spell of Rebel dominance. Killian O'Hanlon thundered into the game to assist Maguire around centre-field. Ruairí Deane was fouled for a free, O'Hanlon landed a 45 and Maguire assisted a fine Kevin O'Donovan point. 

It was 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time, a dour arm-wrestle, but Cork weren't complaining. It had been a real surprise to see Kanturk's Paul Walsh start ahead of Luke Connolly, who was named originally, but he added extra muscle to the midfield.

Kerry had squandered the better chances in the first half, though Hurley had a sniff of goal, foiled by the scrambling Kerry full-back line.

The third quarter was more of the same, one a point scored by each side, a Tony Brosnan effort from play and a tricky Killian O'Hanlon free. An explosion of rain made it demanding to secure possession, let alone do anything meaningful with it. 

Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Clifford sent a goal chance flashing wide off the post and Flahive and Mattie Taylor had to combine to deny Brosnan. By the second water-break Cork still led by the minimum, 0-7 to 0-6, and had the advantage of an extra man to come when Ronan Buckley was black-carded.

Still, it wasn't the sort of the game or the conditions where 15 against 14 was going to make much difference. The Kingdom introduced a raft of subs with the pacey Spillane nabbing a pair of points, along with two from O'Shea, which cancelled out a Collins free: 0-10 to 0-8 with time running out.

Cork kept their focus. Luke Connolly clipped over a fine score on the loop and then, deep into added time, Cork's patience and perseverance paid off when Powter was fouled, after an initial shot was blocked, and Collins converted. 

Extra time at rainswept Páirc Uí Chaoimh. And what drama it brought.

Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Scorers for Cork: M Collins 0-4 (0-3 f), L Connolly 0-3 (0-2 f), M Keane 1-0, K O'Hanlon 0-2 (0-1 45, 0-1 f), B Hurley (mark), S Powter, K O'Donovan 0-1 each.

Kerry: D Clifford 0-4 (0-1 f), K Spillane 0-4, S O'Shea 0-2 (0-1 f), R Buckley, D Moynihan, T Brosnan 0-1 each. 

CORK: M Martin; S Powter, M Shanley, K Flahive; K O'Donovan, S Meehan, M Taylor; I Maguire (c), K O'Hanlon; J O'Rourke, M Collins, R Deane; C O'Callaghan, B Hurley, P Walsh.

Subs: M Keane for O'Callaghan (43), L Connolly for O'Rourke (44), M Hurley for Walsh (53), P Kerrigan for B Hurley (62), S White for O'Donovan (68), P Ring for Flahive (ET), T Corkery for Powter (inj 72), K O'Driscoll for Maguire (inj 76), D Gore for O'Hanlon (inj h-t ET).

KERRY: S Ryan; J Foley, T Morley, T O'Sullivan; P Murphy, P Crowley, G White; D Moran, D O'Connor; B Ó Beaglaíoch, S O'Shea, R Buckley; T Brosnan, D Clifford (c), D Moynihan.

Subs: S O'Brien for Moynihan (47), K Spillane for Brosnan (49), J Barry for Ó Beaglaíoch (54), R Buckley (black card 52-62), J Sherwood for Buckley (62), D Moran (black card 68), G Crowley for White (ET), Ó Beaglaíoch for O'Sullivan (h-t ET), T Walsh for Foley (82), P Clifford for O'Connor (88).

Referee: Derek O'Mahony (Tipperary).

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