EVEN an 11-point contribution from Knocknagree’s Anthony O’Connor couldn’t help Cork over the line in an enthralling Munster junior football final at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The Rebels came up short, losing by 4-24 to 3-20 after extra-time, as Kerry retained their title, recording their 44th in a memorable 88th decider.
Visting captain, UCC student Killian Spillane, acknowledged Cork’s contribution to an outstanding game when accepting the trophy from Munster Council chairman, Jerry O’Sullivan.
“Cork can feel very proud of their performance tonight. It was a great game and we were lucky to get the breaks at the right time,” the Templenoe player said.
Cork seemed to be heading for their 30th title and spoiling Kerry’s attempts to emulate their four-in-a-row achievement of 1958-1961, when leading by nine points early in the second-half.
But, Kerry showed why they’re All-Ireland champions to hit back with 2-5 of their own and reclaim the lead.
Cork, though, forced extra-time with a Killian O’Hanlon equaliser near the end of normal time.
However, a couple of quick-fire goals from goal-scorers Philip O’Connor and Tomás Ó Sé near the end of the first-half in extra-time settled matters.
Cork manager Paul McCarthy was gutted at the result, but proud of his team’s never-say-die approach.
“We were probably two minutes away from winning it during normal time, but did a couple of silly things, which you can’t do against a quality team like Kerry,” he said.