The sides were level in injury time when Kanturk’s Martin Riordan was adjudged to have been fouled in the Mallow square after great work from Aidan Walsh and Lorcán McLoughlin.
Most teams would take their point at this stage but must teams don’t have Anthony Nash. The Cork ‘keeper went for goal only for Mallow’s Aidan Long to make a stunning save, tipping the ball onto the post. The ball then somehow found it’s way to the outstanding Lorcán McLoughlin, who put Kanturk into the lead.
From the puck out Ryan Walsh stretched the lead to an unassailable two points after a ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ type run up the field that was fuelled entirely by adrenalin.
All that was left was for Cathal McAllister to blow his whistle that sparked an incredible show of emotion, as Kanturk became the first side from the Duhallow division to make their way to senior level.
It looked to be Mallow’s day when Gerry Hayes poked home a long Kevin Sheehan delivery with five minutes to go to give the North Cork men a two point advantage, 1-12 to 0-13 with five minutes remaining. But Kanturk weren’t to be denied and points from Ian Walsh and Lorcán McLoughlin brought them back to parity as the clock ticked into the red zone.
Mallow looked for goals early an wide-ridden first half and while Anthony Nash did well to tip a Gerry Hayes effort over, the Kanturk rear-guard were in control with Darren Browne doing a fine job at containing Mallow’s talisman, Cormac Murphy. An exception to this was the excellent Donal Relihan, who plundered four fabulous points from wing-forward.
However, Kanturk were struggling to break down a tough Mallow defence and had only two points from Liam O’Keeffe and Lorcán McLoughlin for their efforts after seventeen minutes. Alan Sheehy stopped the rot before Aidan Walsh announced his arrival into the game at full-forward with two points and two more from McLoughlin gave them Kanturk a two point advantage, 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time.
The second half ebbed and flowed as Seán Hayes began to make an impact for Mallow and a free from Hayes had the sides level at 0-11 each with ten to go. Cormac Murphy and that man McLoughlin then traded scores before an inspirational score from Aidan Walsh put Kanturk back in front.
Then came that Hayes goal, that Nash penalty and those Walsh and McLoughlin points to send Kanturk into dreamland as they look forward to dining at the top table in 2018.
Kanturk: L McLoughlin (4 frees) 0-8, A Walsh 0-3, I Walsh 0-2, L O’Keeffe (free), R Walsh, D Kennelly and A Sheehy 0-1 each
D Relihan 0-4, G Hayes 1-1, S Hayes 0-3 (frees), P Lyons, K O’Connor (free), K Sheehan and C Murphy 0-1 each.
A Nash, P Walsh, J McLoughlin, E O’Connor, L O’Neill, D Browne, A Sheehy, L McLoughlin, R Walsh, D Kennelly, J Browne, I Walsh, A O’Keeffe, A Walsh, L O’Keeffe. M Healy for O’Connor (inj, 21 mins), D Fitzpatrick for J O’Keeffe (h/t), M O’Riordan for A O’Keeffe (54 mins).
A Long, J O’Hanlon, K O’Connor, R Mills, D Moynihan, F O’Neill, A Lutrell, P Lyons, D Hayes, P Herlihy, C Murphy, D Relihan, S Hayes, G Hayes, A Sheehan. K Sheehan for A Sheehan (39 mins), B Carey for Herlihy (47 mins), C Hannan for Lutrell (58 mins).
Cathal McAllister (Aghada).