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Cork come good in extra-time to see off Kilkenny in epic All-Ireland semi-final battle

A final date with Limerick on August 22nd now awaits Cork.

Cork 1-37

Kilkenny 1-32

A MARATHON HURLING afternoon of extraordinary entertainment culminated in a Cork success as they eventually outlasted Kilkenny.

robbie-oflynn-with-padraig-walsh-and-conor-fogarty Robbie O'Flynn with Padraig Walsh and Conor Fogarty. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Kieran Kingston’s team summoned the energy and enthusiasm to pull clear, Patrick Horgan top scoring with a massive haul of 0-15 while the Cork bench was instrumental as they supplied 0-11, seven of those converted by the excellent Shane Kingston.

Cork booked a first All-Ireland final berth since 2013 but needed extra-time before that conclusion was assured. Kilkenny may have exited yet this game was another shining example of their remarkable levels of resilience.

Only two goals were registered in a pulsating game but they had a critical impact in shaping the outcome. Kilkenny’s stubborn refusal to quit has never waned. Normal time would have looked a lost cause to most teams when they trailed by six points with six minutes left or faced a three-point deficit in the 74th minute.

But Brian Cody’s teams have long been characterised by their will to battle until the last dying breath of a game. They chipped away with points and then after Tim O’Mahony coughed up possession, they pounced late on as a delivery found Adrian Mullen who smashed home the goal that delivered a most sensational ending.

tj-reid-with-jack-oconnor TJ Reid with Jack O'Connor. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

That left it 1-26 to 0-29 at the close of normal time, Cork momentarily stunned at their advantage having slipped away and memories returning of the costly collapse against Limerick at this stage two years ago.

However they gathered themselves to mount another charge in extra-time and on this occasion it proved telling. That was when they at last hit the net themselves, having spurned five chances previously, with Jack O’Connor making a lung-bursting run from deep before he fired home a wonderful finish into the Hill 16 end in the 79th minute.

It seemed remarkable that the net was only hit twice as O’Connor cannoned one off the post in the second half and Cork in total passed up five good opportunities for goals before finally scoring. Eoin Murphy thwarted them with an outstanding showing between the posts for Kilkenny, while Cork’s defence was heroic at times in making critical late blocks.

richie-hogan-and-niall-oleary Richie Hogan and Niall O'Leary. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Kilkenny were still in touch at the midway mark of extra-time, 1-32 to 1-29 in arrears, but the game was beginning to slip away from them. O’Connor, Kingston and Harnedy shot over points in the second period to push Cork six clear. Kilkenny’s old warriors Richie Hogan and TJ Reid tried to fire a comeback with points yet Cork operated at a higher tempo at the end. Declan Dalton flighting over an 89th minute score that sealed the win.

The frenetic nature of the action in the second half and extra-time was preceded by a cagey opening period with the teams trading points. It was 0-15 to 0-14 in Kilkenny’s favour at the interval. Horgan shot ten points for Cork but at the other end Kilkenny shared the responsibility with Eoin Cody and Billy Ryan landing some terrific scores as they gave the Cork rearguard headaches.

It was level, 0-22 apiece by the 55th miunte, before Cork produced a telling final quarter scoring spree. After shooting six points in a row, Kingston spearheading the drive, Cork appeared on the cusp of a final post.

Kilkenny rallied wonderfully. Reid knocked over points from frees and Cork could not create a scoreboard margin of sufficient size to relax. They were punished when Mullen fired home that goal yet if the momentum lay with Kilkenny, Cork wrestled it back.

A decider with Limerick awaits.

Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-15 (0-9f), Shane Kingston 0-7, Jack O’Connor 1-3, Alan Cadogan 0-3, Seamus Harnedy, Robbie O’Flynn 0-2 each, Niall O’Leary, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Barrett, Declan Dalton 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-13 (0-9f, 0-3 ’65), Adrian Mullen 1-3, Billy Ryan 0-5, Eoin Cody 0-4, James Maher, Pádraig Walsh, Michael Carey, Conor Fogarty, Richie Reid, Alan Murphy, Richie Hogan 0-1 each.

Cork

1. Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig)

2. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons), 3. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers), 4. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra).

5. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), 6. Mark Coleman (Blarney), 7. Ger Millerick (Fr O’Neills).

8. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville), 9. Luke Meade (Newcestown).

10. Conor Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), 11. Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s), 12. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own).

13. Shane Barrett (Blarney), 14. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers), 15. Jack O’Connor (Sarsfields).

Subs

19. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas) for Millerick (inj) (36)

23. Shane Kingston (Douglas) for Fitzgibbon (41)

24. Alan Cadogan (Douglas) for Barrett (47)

21. Damian Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) for O’Flynn (68)

25. Alan Connolly (Blackrock) for Cahalane (inj) (71)

17. Seán O’Leary-Hayes (Midleton) for Coleman (80)

8. Fitzgibbon for Meade (84)

26. Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neills) for O’Connor (85)

Kilkenny

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

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2. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan), 2. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels), 3. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels), 3.

5. James Maher (St Lachtain’s), 6. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan), 7. Michael Carey (Young Irelands)

8. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own) 9. Richie Reid (Shamrocks Ballyhale)

10. Adrian Mullen (Shamrocks Ballyhale) 11. John Donnelly (Thomastown) , 12. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan)

13. Eoin Cody (Shamrocks Ballyhale), 14. TJ Reid (Shamrocks Ballyhale), 15. Alan Murphy (Glenmore) 

Subs

22. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan) for Donnelly (half-time)

21. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro) for Richie Reid (50)

23. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon) for Alan Murphy (52)

24. James Bergin (Conahy Shamrocks) for Keoghan (60) 

25. Richie Hogan (Danesfort) for Cody (80)

11. Donnelly for Ryan (88)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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