By Darragh Small at Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 2-15 Cork 3-12
Kerry corner-back Fionn Fitzgerald was the unlikely hero as his added-time equaliser saved the All-Ireland champions from their first defeat to Cork in a Munster Football Championship final since 2008 in a 2-15 to 3-12 draw.
The win at Killarney would have been the Rebels' first victory at the venue in 20 years and it looked certain when Barry O’Driscoll goaled late on.
Colm O’Neill and Kieran Donaghy exchanged goals in the first-half as Kerry led 1-09 to 1-05 at the break.
Cork found the net twice in the second-half with Donncha O’Connor their other goal-scorer but they were unable to hold on and the sides must meet again.
And with Páirc Uí Caoimh not available due to ground renovations, the replay will take place on 18 July, and once again Kerry will have the home field advantage of Killarney to fall back on.
Throughout the 70 minutes there were three black cards shown with Paul Kerrigan and Colm O’Driscoll getting their marching orders for Cork, while David Moran was sent from the field from Kerry.
The Kingdom were 1-09 to 1-05 up at the break after dominating in the closing stages of the half.
Cork had the ideal start and O’Neill’s 1-01 inside nine minutes put them in charge.
He first pointed a ’45, but moments later when Donncha O’Connor cut through the Kerry defence, he passed across to O’Neill who fisted to the net.
Kerry were soon level though: Bryan Sheahan slotted a free before Michael Shields was dispossessed by Johnny Buckley and Donaghy applied the finish.
Kerrigan was shown black in the 23rd minute and then Cork’s first half fell apart.
They only kicked two more scores from O’Neill and Donncha O’Connor, while Kerry hit six points with BJ Keane contributing three to give the hosts a four-point interval lead.
O’Neill and Donnchadh Walsh traded scores at the start of the second-half and Cork then struck 1-04 without reply.
Donncha O’Connor found the net in the 38th minute with a lovely flick over the advancing 'keeper for Cork and Barry O’Driscoll put them 2-10 to 1-10 up with a good point.
Cork were in control at this stage, but the game turned when referee Padraig Hughes awarded Kerry a controversial penalty when Mark Collins was adjudged to have fouled O’Donoghue and last year's player of the year easily converted from the penalty spot.
That levelled matters, substitute Colm Cooper put Kerry ahead, before Anthony Maher pushed the Kingdom 2-14 to 2-12 in front.
But Barry O’Driscoll hit the net after the Kerry defence parted, but Fitzgerald rescued a draw with a point from the last play.
Kerry: B Kealy; F Fitzgerald (0-01), M Ó Sé, S Enright; J Lyne, P Crowley, K Young; D Moran, B Sheehan (0-04, 0-03f); S O’Brien, J Buckley (0-01), D Walsh (0-01); BJ Keane (0-03, 0-01f), K Donaghy (1-00), J O’Donoghue (1-02, 1-00 pen).
Subs: A Maher (0-01) for Moran (43), C Cooper (0-01) for O’Brien (43), D O’Sullivan for Buckley (47), P Geaney (0-01) for Keane (51), J Sherwood for Sheahan (61), P Murphy for Crowley (65).
Cork: K O’Halloran; M Shields, E Cadogan, J Loughrey; Barry O’Driscoll (1-01), Brian O’Driscoll, S Cronin; A O’Connor, F Goold; P Kerrigan, D O’Connor (1-03, 0-02f), K O’Driscoll (0-02); C O’Neill (1-06, 0-03f, 0-01 ’45), M Collins, B Hurley.
Subs: P Kelly for A O’Connor (21, blood), P Kelly for Kerrigan (25, black), C Dorman for Cronin (59), R Deane for Goold (61), D Goulding for D O’Connor (62), C O’Driscoll for Hurley (67).
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).