CORK swooped for a late point against Kerry in Mallow to win the Munster ladies football minor title in dramatic style 1-12 to 2-8.
From a game of twists and turns, Cork staged a second-half revival to turn a seven-point deficit into a narrow victory thanks to Emma Cleary, who clipped over an injury-time penalty.
Backed by the breeze, champions Cork, who also won the All-Irelands in 2016 and ’17, drove ahead thanks to points from Rachel Murphy and Fiona Keating, along with some clinical Cleary frees and would have led by more only for timely interventions by superb Kerry keeper Sinéad Warren.
It was only 0-5 to 1-2 at the break though, with Kerry pushing in front midway through the second half.
In fairness to Cork, they regrouped, at their best when faced with adversity.
They were back in the game once Cleary, who finished with 1-9, calmly slotted home to the net from the first of two penalties awarded.
Follow up points from Abbie O’Mahony and Cleary squared the contest before the winner surfaced in injury time; Sarah O’Brien was fouled inside the box and Cleary elected to take a point from a second penalty to separate two talented sides.
Experienced manager John Cleary, whose daughter Emma nailed the key scores, has a backroom team of Cork legend Valerie Mulcahy, Anne O’Grady, Joe Carroll, Fr Liam Kelleher and Theresa Meaney. Next up is an All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.
“We face Dublin in late June, it’s a bit different,” said Cleary. “That semi-final is two weeks earlier than normal. With players involved in the Leaving Cert, there will be little time for preparation.”