But it was a surreal three-minute first-half spell, when they haemorrhaged as many goals, that cost Cork this All-Ireland Vocational Schools Football final.
Rarely can a game have been turned on its head as dramatically, because 19 minutes in, Cork had their foot firmly to Tyrone’s throat.
Some beautiful football from Kevin Canty in midfield and Colm Calanan and Colm O’Neill in attack had Cork 0-6 to 0-2 ahead. Tyrone were shipping water all over the pitch.
The Ulster champions should have been further adrift when Calanan’s shot after 19 minutes cannoned back off the crossbar before O’Neill tapped over for a point.
The Ballyclough student fired over again seconds later to make it 0-6 to 0-2 before things went pear-shaped at the other end.
The first goal was unfortunate, Ciaran McGinley tapping home a simple finish after Philip Toner’s point attempt fell to his feet off the Cork post. The second was simply careless, a loose defensive ball ending up in Aaron Monaghan’s hands and, in acres of space, the Ballgawley man had little difficulty in slotting past a stranded Michael P O’Reagan. The third was the best of the lot, Aidan Cassidy hand-passing a ball through the inside right channel of a traumatised defence for Aodhan McCullagh to finish low at O’Reagan’s near post.
Predictably, Cork were rattled by the sudden transformation and proceeded to fumble their way though the remainder of the half, repeatedly taking the wrong option in an attempt to rediscover their earlier verve.
Andy Ó Cionceannáin managed a pointed free - the first score from a dead ball in the game - before the break to leave them four in arrears.
The break they so badly needed arrived after 37 minutes when they awarded a penalty for a foul on Dave Scannell. Scannell might have fallen inside the parallelogram, but the incident clearly had its origins a number of paces outside it. Either way, Ó Cionceannáin’s resultant kick found the net to reduce the gap to a point.
If the quality wasn’t as good as the first half, the excitement was, as Cork bridged a two-point gap with less than five minutes to go, thanks chiefly to Ó Cionceannáin.
Extra-time proved an even edgier affair, with Tyrone claiming the initiative with two points from substitute Brian McKenna and Toner. Only two more points followed, one from each side, leaving Tyrone to claim their fifth title at the grade in the competition’s 22-year history and Cork to regret that unforgettable 180 seconds.
: P Tierney (St Ciaran’s); P Treanor (St Ciaran’s), D Burke (Holy Trinity), C Lynch (Holy Trinity); N McGinn (St Ciaran’s), N Kerr (Holy Trinity), A McCullagh (St Ciaran’s, 1-0); A Cassidy (St Ciaran’s, 0-1), B Boggs (St Colman’s); J Gilmore (Holy Trinity, 0-2), A Monaghan (St Ciaran’s, 1-0), C McGinley (St Ciaran’s); J Kelly (St Ciaran’s, 0-1), P Toner (East Tyrone, 1-4, 2f), NP McGinn (St Patrick’s). Subs: B McKenna (St Ciaran’s, 0-1) for Monaghan 45, S Mulgrew (St Patrick’s College) for NP McGinn 48, J Lafferty (St Colman’s) for Mulgrew (73,
: MP O’Reagan (Clonakilty); D Twomey (Canovee), D Lynch (Valley Rovers), J O’Donovan (Bandon); L Hegarty (Gabriel Rgs), S Keohane (St Mary’s), C O’Leary (Kilbrittain); K Canty (Valley Rovers), D O’Sullivan (Canovee); A Ó Coinceannáinn (Beal Atha An Ghaorthaidh, 1-4, 3f), C Calanan (Clonakilty 0-4, 1f), M O’Conchuir (Cill na Martra 0-1); C O’Neill (Ballyclough, 0-3), S Dromey (Bantry Blues), D Scannell (Ciosceim na Cailli).
: G O’Driscoll (Newewestown) for Hegarty 30, P McCarthy (Dohenys) for C O’Neill 39, P O’Mahony (Kilbrittain) for Dromey 42, D Foley (Dripsey) for Scannell 70, E Ó Coill (Baile Atha Ghaoirthaidh) for O’Sullivan 74.
: S Doyle (Wexford).