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Late points see Cork survive in Division 2 as Offaly relegated in Tullamore drama

Cork will now play in the Sam Maguire Cup this year.

Niall McNamee fouled for a first-half penalty for Offaly.
Niall McNamee fouled for a first-half penalty for Offaly.
Image: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Cork 1-21

Offaly 1-20

CORK RESCUED THEIR season this afternoon with late points to defeat Offaly, avoid relegation from Division and ensure they will contest this year’s Sam Maguire Cup championship race.

In a dramatic tie in Tullamore, the hosts Offaly were pegged back in injury-time and they suffered relegation to Division 3, along with Down who Cork had defeated last week.

Cork only needed a draw to secure their safety but looked in trouble in the finale. They trailed by a point when Brian Hurley kicked a superb score in the 71st minute but a brilliant effort by Ruairi McNamee edged Offaly back ahead moments later, 1-20 to 1-19.

Then substitute Cian Kiely stepped up with a critical score from distance to tie the game once more and then as Offaly attempted to create an equaliser, they committed a technical foul with a pass back to goalkeeper Paddy Dunican. That allowed Cork’s top scorer Steven Sherlock, excellent throughout, to notch his ninth point of the afternoon and seal Cork’s win, along with the other advantages for their 2022 campaign.

Offaly were left to regret the finish after they had bossed the second half to claw back Cork’s advantage and go two points clear by the 63rd minute. Niall McNamee was superb, while Anton Sullivan, Bill Carroll and Ruairi McNamee all notched quality scores.

Offaly outscored Cork by 0-12 to 0-4 between the 43rd and 63rd minutes, yet either side of that Cork had began sharply and then weathered the storm to finish well.

Cathal O’Mahony gave Cork an early boost with a terrific left-foot strike to the net in the 3rd minute. Cork had different scoring options and were six clear, 1-9 to 0-6, approaching half-time, when they conceded a penalty. Kevin Flahive was shown a black card for the foul on McNamee and Sullivan netted from the kick.

Cork were ahead 1-10 to 1-7 at the break, Sherlock scoring a vital point to round off the first half and he hit three scores on the bounce as the second half commenced, including a couple of fine efforts from play.

The hosts looked to have gained control as the second half progressed but Cork finished the stronger.

Scorers for Cork: Steven Sherlock 0-9 (0-4f), Cathal O’Mahony 1-1, John O’Rourke 0-3, Brian Hurley 0-3 (0-1 mark), Colm O’Callaghan 0-2, Matthew Taylor 0-1, Blake Murphy 0-1, Cian Kiely 0-1.

Scorers for Offaly: Niall McNamee 0-7 (0-2f, 0-2 marks), Anton Sullivan 1-3 (1-0 pen), Bill Carroll 0-3, Ruairi McNamee 0-2, Johnny Moloney 0-1, Niall Darby 0-1, Cathal Flynn 0-1, Keith O’Neill 0-1, Paddy Dunican 0-1 (0-1f).


Míchéal Martin (Nemo Rangers)

Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), Kevin Flahive (Douglas), Tommy Walsh (Kanturk)

John Cooper (Éire Óg), Rory Maguire (Castlehaven), Mattie Taylor (Mallow)

Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s), Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg)

Daniel Dineen (Cill Na Martra), Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree), John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers)

Stephen Sherlock (St Finbarr’s), Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), Brian Hurley (Castlehaven – captain)


Blake Murphy (St Vincent’s) for McSweeney (48) 

Cian Kiely (Ballincollig) for Flahive (53)

Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers) for O’Mahony (53)

Brian Hartnett (Douglas) for Dineen (inj) (59)

Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys) for O’Rourke (70)


Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks)

Kieran Dolan (Shamrocks), James Lalor (Raheen), Niall Darby (Rhode)

Lee Pearson (Edenderry), Declan Hogan (Tullamore), Colm Doyle (Clara)

Cathal Donoghue (Kilcormac-Killoughey), Jordan Hayes (Edenderry)

Dylan Hyland (Raheen), Ruairi McNamee (Rhode – captain), Bill Carroll (Cappincur)

Johnny Moloney (Tullamore), Niall McNamee (Rhode), Anton Sullivan (Rhode)


Cathal Flynn (Ferbane) for Pearson (inj) (23)

Keith O’Neill (Clonbullogue) for Donoghue (41)

Mark Abbott for Hyland (51)

Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh) for Doyle (55)

Bernard Allen (Tubber) for Sullivan (69)

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)

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