Paudie Murray’s girls may still make the decider but they allowed an excellent opportunity to slip at Semple Stadium on Saturday, having led for three-quarters of this semi-final and having had many chances to be further ahead.
They were still a goal clear entering injury-time but Una Leacy came off the bench to rescue Wexford with a dramatic injury-time goal.
Wexford beat Cork in the 2012 final to complete a three-in-a-row and after a difficult season last year as they dealt with two changes in management and the loss of key players to retirement and other commitments, have looked much like their old selves during this campaign.
For a long time it looked like Katriona Mackey’s goal midway through the first half would decide this very tight affair but, as she has done many times in her career, Leacy made no mistake after tremendous work from Katrina Parrock to snatch the draw.
Jenny O’Leary had a chance to snatch it for the Leesiders late on from a difficult free tight to the sideline but her effort drifted wide.
Ursula Jacob’s point was the only score of the game when Mackey beat Wexford goalkeeper Mags D’Arcy.
Orla Cotter and Briege Corkery quickly raised white flags to open a four-point gap to put Cork in control.
That was as much as ever separated them though, and points from Ursula Jacob and Kate Kelly, sandwiching a score from Cotter, left it 1-3 to 0-3 at the break.
Leacy was introduced to the fray at half-time by Helena Jacob and the manager’s sister, Ursula, was on the mark 20 seconds after the resumption.
O’Leary replied but a brilliant point by Jackie Quigley, followed by another from Leacy, left the minimum between them. O’Leary, Cotter and Mackey scored for Cork, with another substitute, Fiona Rochford, scoring for Wexford, which left a goal between the sides.
Cork looked like they would see it out at this juncture, although the margin was never a comfortable one.
Jacob did bookmark a Julia White point with two good scores but when Corkery fired over from a difficult angle, it looked like Cork had done enough.
They were to rue their eight second-half wides though, and the 12 in total, as Leacy gave Aoife Murray no chance in the 61st minute.
The replay will take place on Saturday.
Scorers for Cork: O Cotter 0-3 (2f); K Mackey 1-1; J O’Leary, B Corkery 0-2 each; J White 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: U Jacob 0-5 (4f); U Leacy 1-1; J Quigley, F Rochford 0-1 each.
CORK: A Murray, J O’Callaghan, E O’Sullivan, A Geary, L Treacy, G O’Connor, P Mackey, R Buckley, A Thompson, J O’Leary, A Walsh, B Corkery, J White, O Cotter, K Mackey.
WEXFORD: M D’Arcy, D Codd, N Lambert, K Atkinson, S Nolan, M Leacy, S Sinnott, J Dwyer, S Kehoe, K Kelly, F Kavanagh, J Quigley, U Jacob, K Parrock, L Bolger.
Subs: U Leacy for Bolger (ht), B Gordon for Kavanagh (49), F Rochford for Kehoe (52).
Referee: A Lagrue (Kildare).