- Pat Spillane, Tony Davis and Joe Brolly give their reaction to Kerry's thrilling one point win over Cork after extra time.
- A delighted Kerry manager Jack O'Connor says that it was a tough battle and a great game to win.
- A clearly disappointed Cork manager Conor Counihan says that they are going to have to rise to the challenge of the back door.
Reigning All-Ireland champions Kerry showed the greater composure as they overcame old foes Cork after extra-time to reach the Munster Senior Football Championship final.
A brace of points each from Colm Cooper and substitute Barry John Keane, in the two halves of extra-time, were enough to see Kerry through to a 4 July decider against Limerick.
A Daniel Goulding goal had Cork 1-06 to 0-05 to the good at half-time, but Kerry, with Kieran Donaghy finding the net in the 37th minute, fought back and a late Marc Ó Se point tied the game at 1-11 apiece.
The Kingdom had won a free in the closing stages of normal time, which earned Cork captain Graham Canty his second yellow card, and Cooper stepped up to point the resulting free for a 1-10 to 1-10 scoreline.
An improvised overhead effort from Ciaran Sheehan nudged Cork back ahead, but Kerry swept forward to claim the levelling point in injury-time, which defender Ó Sé popped over after combining with Donaghy.
The deciding factor in this Páirc Uí Chaoimh tussle was, once again, Cork’s failure to put Kerry away having established a decent lead.
Goulding’s 15th-minute goal had the Rebels 1-02 to 0-01 ahead and they continued to hold that advantage, leading by three points with 20 minutes remaining in normal time.
However, just like last weekend’s drawn game in Killarney, Conor Counihan’s men failed to show the necessary killer instinct and key men like Cooper, Paul Galvin and the Ó Sé brothers, Tomás and Marc, helped Kerry get back on terms.
Galvin, on as a first-half substitute, covered a huge amount of ground and frustrated Cork with some vital carries in defence and attack, while Cooper’s six-point tally – five from frees – was crucial in windy conditions.
Kerry, who included Anthony Maher and David Moran in their team, had the elements to their advantage in the opening half but fell behind to two early frees from Daniel Goulding and Donncha O’Connor.
Bryan Sheehan opened Kerry’s account in the ninth minute, converting a left-sided free, before O’Connor missed a kickable 12th-minute effort, coming after a forceful challenge by Pearse O’Neill on Tommy Griffin.
Kerry’s Brendan Kealy was the busier of the goalkeepers and he did well to put O’Connor off as the Cork centre-forward tried to fist a high ball to the net.
But, having seemingly gathered a second high ball in on top of him, Kealy allowed Goulding to dispossess him and quickly turn to poke home off the ground for Cork’s only goal.
The Rebels lost the services of Aidan Walsh to a hamstring injury, with Derek Kavanagh coming on in his place, and Kerry reacted smartly to the concession of that goal.
Cooper notched his first pointed free and added his only point from play soon after, with Donaghy the provider. Sheehan missed a chance to make it a one-point game, and Kerry breathed a sigh of relief when Goulding clipped a shot inches wide of Kealy’s goal, with Tom O’Sullivan putting sufficient pressure on him.
Goulding was back on target, drawing a ‘45’ over from right to left, and efforts from O’Connor and defender Michael Shields put Cork in a commanding position at 1-05 to 0-03 in the 26th minute.
The action had been fairly stop-start up to that point, and Kerry ramped up the intensity when Declan O’Sullivan pointed and Paul Galvin, the 2009 Footballer of the Year, was brought on just moments later.
Tempers boiled over on the half hour mark, as Kavanagh and Canty picked up yellow cards for clashing with Cooper and Galvin respectively.
Cork missed another goal-scoring opportunity when Paudie Kissane laid the ball through on a plate for full-forward Sheehan, but the youngster’s rifled right-footed shot skimmed its way over the crossbar.
The 26,486-strong crowd watched Kerry grab the half’s final point through Bryan Sheehan, and Cooper should have followed it up with a goal. Donaghy plucked down a high ball and dished it off for Cooper whose placed effort slide away to the left of the target.
Cork almost engineered a goal at the start of the second half, only for Kealy to parry Alan O’Connor’s punched effort. Kerry were quickly back on the attack and Donnacha Walsh’s through ball allowed Cooper to create Donaghy’s well-taken goal.
Gobbling up Cooper’s hand pass, Donaghy fended off Canty’s challenge and his low effort beat Alan Quirke to nestle in the bottom right corner of the net.
A brace of points from Donncha O’Connor – a free and one from play – saw Cork recover to take a 1-08 to 1-05 advantage, and as scores followed from Bryan Sheehan, Paddy Kelly, Declan O’Sullivan and Goulding, the home side maintained that three-point buffer.
Cooper provided some inspiration for Kerry as they sought to pull that deficit back. He sent over a free and did likewise after Jamie O’Sullivan had floored him with a hand trip.
Cork were suddenly struggling at just the wrong time, taking poor options and wayward shots from distance, as Kerry, helped by the influence of Galvin and fellow substitute Micheal Quirke, tightened things up around the middle.
When Canty felled the onrushing Cooper in the 65th minute and referee McEnaney reached for his red card, Cork were on the brink of imploding. Cooper mopped up with the levelling free.
A ball in from Colm O’Neill broke to Ciaran Sheehan who managed to squeeze the ball through the uprights for the lead score, but in the second minute of injury-time, a last-gasp raid down the left resulted in Donaghy cleverly putting Ó Sé through for the point that ensured extra-time.
With Cork restored to 15 players for extra-time – John Miskella was introduced for Canty – a high-quality effort from substitute Fintan Goold edged the hosts back in front at 1-12 to 1-11.
Kevin McMahon, another new man in, struck a wide from the left as Cork’s Jekyll-and-Hyde performance continued and they paid the price when Cooper converted a free and Donaghy put Barry John Keane through for a classy score.
McMahon kicked another wide after good work from Colm O’Neill, and Kerry finished the opening period of extra-time 1-14 to 1-12 ahead, with Donaghy again teeing up Keane.
Paddy Kelly hit a wide as Cork continued their struggle for scores, in the second period. A Cooper point attempt bounced back off a post, before Noel O’Leary got forward to close the gap to a single point.
A Cooper free steadied Kerry at 1-15 to 1-13, and although John Hayes’ late free produced a helter-skelter conclusion, Kerry held on to secure their first replay win in Cork since 1976.
Scorers: Cork: D Goulding 1-03 (0-02f, 0-01 ‘45’), D O’Connor 0-04 (0-02f), C Sheehan 0-02, M Shields, P Kelly, F Goold, N O’Leary, J Hayes (0-01f) 0-01 each
Kerry: K Donaghy 1-01, C Cooper 0-06 (0-05f), B Sheehan 0-03 (0-01f, 0-01 ‘45’), Declan O’Sullivan, BJ Keane 0-02 each, M O Se 0-01
CORK: Alan Quirke; Ray Carey, Graham Canty (capt), Jamie O'Sullivan; Noel O'Leary, Michael Shields, Paudie Kissane; Alan O'Connor, Aidan Walsh; Pearse O'Neill, Donncha O'Connor, Paddy Kelly; Daniel Goulding, Ciaran Sheehan, Paul Kerrigan.
Subs used: Derek Kavanagh for Walsh (16 mins), Eoin Cadogan for O’Leary (53), Colm O’Neill for Goulding (56), Fintan Goold for Kavanagh (58), Kevin McMahon for Kerrigan (70); John Miskella for Canty (extra-time), Eoin Cotter for O’Sullivan, Noel O’Leary for Miskella (11, extra-time), John Hayes for O’Connor (16, extra-time).
KERRY: Brendan Kealy; Marc O Se, Tommy Griffin, Tom O'Sullivan; Tomas O Se, Mike McCarthy, Killian Young; Seamus Scanlon, David Moran; Anthony Maher, Declan O'Sullivan, Donnacha Walsh; Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Bryan Sheehan (capt).
Subs used: Paul Galvin for Moran (28 mins), Micheal Quirke for Maher (54), Barry John Keane for Sheehan (55), Darran O’Sullivan for Walsh (60), Daniel Bohan for T O Se (68); Adrian O’Connell for Young (8, extra-time), Donnacha Walsh for Scanlon (17, extra-time).
Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan)