Top 10: Picking the Cork football goals that will live on through the ages

Top 10: Picking the Cork football goals that will live on through the ages
John O'Driscoll is cheered on by Cork fans after scoring his side's goal against Kerry in the 1989 Munster football final in Killarney. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

THE Cork footballers have scored some absolute gems of goals down the years, although it must be pointed out that an annoyingly large amount of the best ones have been scored on losing causes.

Here we look at some of the greatest goals ever scored by Cork with the big ball.

10. Fionan Murray v Waterford, Munster quarter-final, 2001:

OK, this one is definitely not the most important or high profile ever scored by a Cork player, but then again no one has ever scored a Gaelic Football goal quite like this.

The Barr’s attacker burst through some last ditch Déise defending before getting a shot on target that was saved by keeper Paul Houlihan, but as the ball ricocheted back out over Murray’s head he executed his best Hugo Sanchez impression by bicycle kicking the ball to the Waterford net. You wouldn’t see a country lad doing it!

9. Jimmy Barrett v Kerry, Munster final, 1973:

The last big game at the old Athletic Grounds, and an historic one, as Cork led by 5-3 to 0-02 after 34 minutes against the reigning Munster champions. It was game over.

Barrett’s goal was the second of the five. A long Dinny Long free was knocked down by Declan Barron into the grateful arms of Barrett, and from 15 yards out the Nemo Rangers man rifled the ball into the top left corner. The pain for Kerry was only beginning in what was Mick O’Dwyer’s last ever championship appearance for the Kingdom.

8. Sean Powter v Mayo, All-Ireland qualifier, 2017:

Collecting the ball in midfield, the Douglas man ran at pace, dodging and stepping, turning Keith Higgins inside out and beating Mayo keeper David Clarke with a crisp low shot from fully 20m. Cork need more of this direct running from Powter going forward.

7. Colm O’Neill v Kerry, All-Ireland final, 2009:

A superb poacher’s goal that put Cork five points up after 10 minutes in that year’s final. Unfortunately they wouldn’t get the job done for another 12 months.

Nicholas Murphy’s superb long pass was gathered by O’Neill on a diagonal run and he simply blasted past Kerry keeper Diarmuid Murphy with his magical left peg from the tightest of angles down the Canal End.

6, John O’Driscoll v Kerry, Munster final, 1989:

The gifted Ballingeary man scored the crucial goal that decided the 1989 Munster final in Killarney.

Cork had won a free 40 yards from goal, but instead of leaving it for Larry to knock over Barry Coffey used the top six inches and took a fast free to the unmarked O’Driscoll inside. He then stepped his man before unleashing a wonderful rasping shot into the top corner of Charlie Nelligan’s near post.

5. Colin Corkery v Clare, Munster final, 1993:

Since Cork’s All-Ireland win in 1990 they had failed to win a game in Munster the previous two seasons, and Clare were reigning Munster champions. 

Cork powerhouse Colin Corkery. Picture Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Cork powerhouse Colin Corkery. Picture Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Normality was resumed in emphatic fashion, however, with a resounding 2-14 to 1-10 triumph. Nemo man Corkery was a revelation on his debut, bagging 2-5, including an absolute peach of a goal, where he burst past Clare hardman Seamus Clancy before unleashing an absolute rocket into the top left corner from 20 yards.

4. Dinny Allen v Kerry, Munster final, 1988:

Kerry unleashed a teenage Maurice Fitzgerald that day, and despite an incredible 10 points from the tyro he was to leave Páirc Uí Chaoimh the loser by a solitary point, thanks largely to Dinny Allen’s superb strike.

Skibbereen’s Michael McCarthy launched it in to Colm O’Neill around the square and the Midleton man batted it down for the onrushing Allen, who unleashed a right foot shot across his body that dipped Seamus Darby-style into Charlie Nelligan’s top left corner, putting Cork into a one-point lead they would not relinquish.

3. Jimmy Barry-Murphy v Galway, All-Ireland final, 1973:

Everything about this goal reeks of cool. The extravagant fisted pass from Ray Cummins, the ridiculously elastic white jersey, the haircut, the commentary from Michael O’Hehir, the little solo while practically standing still and then the step and crisp low shot into the corner, when many would have been satisfied with the point.

It was the goal that brought the Sam Maguire home to Cork for the first time since 1945 and it simultaneously launched a teenage JBM into the 1970’s version of GAA stardom.

2. Joe Kavanagh v Meath, All-Ireland final, 1999:

Only for the fact that Cork finished on the losing side this would be No 1. It remains arguably the greatest individual goal scored in an All-Ireland Final to this day.

Kavanagh was capable of hitting great goals. Picture: Des Barry
Kavanagh was capable of hitting great goals. Picture: Des Barry

For the record, Kavanagh scored another screamer in the ’93 loss to Derry. It just wasn’t meant to be.

The Nemo man jinked past five would-be Meath tackles, before palming a pass to Podsie O’Mahony, who quickly played a one-two back to Kavanagh. Cork’s centre forward then dummied past another Meath defender before blasting to the top corner to give Cork the lead in the tie for the first time. Unfortunately they were not able to keep their foot on the pedal and the opportunity was lost, as Cork were oh so close to winning another double.

1, Tadhg Murphy v Kerry, Munster final, 1983:

It had been a whole nine years since Cork’s last Munster triumph, and in the interim Cork had to endure watching the greatest team of all time win all before them. Their five-in-a-row bid had been foiled nine months previously by Seamus Darby’s last minute wonder strike in the All-Ireland Final. Whatever Darby could do, Murphy could do too.

Cork were losing by 3-9 to 2-10. Two points down, they needed a goal, with the whistles coming from the travelling Kerry fans.

Dinny Allen had been fouled on the 45 yards line and as he walked away from the ball his colleague Tadhg O’Reilly emerged from somewhere around midfield to punt the ball high in around the square.

It was gathered by Glanmire’s Murphy who belied the pressure by calmly slotting past Charlie Nelligan to send Páirc Uí Chaoimh into ecstasy with the second last kick of the game.

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