Cork manager Kieran Kingston hailed goalkeeper Patrick Collins for his match-winning intervention to ensure progression to the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals.
The Rebels will face either Tipperary or Waterford next weekend after seeing off Clare by 3-19 to 1-21 at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Saturday’s round 2 qualifier.
Having led by six points as injury time dawned – helped by a goal from sub Shane Barrett – Cork saw their lead whittled down to two points after a Rory Hayes point for Clare was followed by a penalty goal from Tony Kelly, while Jack O’Connor and Niall O’Leary were both sent off for second bookable offences.
Then, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Kelly cut through the Cork cover and went for what would have been a winning goal but Collins repelled his effort, to the delight of Kingston.
“It was an outstanding save,” he said. “We finished the game with 13 players and one injured, and he made an unbelievable save to keep us in the championship.
“I couldn’t see it properly from where I was but I know it was a brilliant save, the lads were talking about it. It’s great for Pa, he’s playing only his second championship game so it’s good for him, good for his confidence, and obviously very good for us.
"We had to rearrange a few things but the lads adapted really well to it and it showed the depth of our panel and the character of the group.”
Cahalane’s setback is likely to keep him out for a large chunk of the remainder of the championship, certainly the quarter-finals, which will be drawn on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland on Monday morning.
“Well, he is inside in the dressing room but certainly he is out for the next two of three weeks anyway,” Kingston said.
“We can’t look beyond next Saturday. Whoever it is will be a bit a test as that was – and what was a huge test in many, many ways, so it will definitely test them I would say.
“Eoin has a groin injury. He is 50-50.”
Last year, Cork exited the competition at this stage and the county hasn’t won successive games in the All-Ireland series since 2015. Holding on against Clare leaves them one game away from an All-Ireland semi-final, though Kingston admitted that there was pressure on the team but coming through such a challenge is something that he thinks will stand to them.
“We did it at times against Limerick and we didn’t do it at times against Limerick. There were times today when we fell down, but they showed real character. The most pleasing thing to me, aside from that win, is that character down the stretch.
“They are coming at you in waves. Clare are a serious team and we can’t underestimate what they bring to the table- their honesty and integrity. They reflect their manager. The never say die attitude. They keep coming at you.
“So it was a massive test for us.”