Kerry battle back to force replay with Cork

Kerry 0-13 Cork 1-10

Kerry 0-13 Cork 1-10

An injury-time free from Bryan Sheehan gave Kerry a draw against Cork in the Munster SFC semi-final at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney today.

It was a game that Cork could, and probably should have won, as they never trailed, but a strong Kerry finish, eradicating the five-point deficit that they faced after Pearse O’Neill’s point to put Cork 1-9 to 0-7 ahead with 14 minutes, ensured that the sides must meet again in Páirc Uí Chaoimh next weekend, their third replay this decade.

With good pressuring in defence, Cork were far stronger in the first half and should probably have led by more than the three points that they did, but astute Kerry substitutions put the visitors on the back foot as the second half progressed and eventually the pressure paid.

After a good start, when they led by two, Cork were pegged back by the home side, but a Pearse O’Neill goal, rounding off a good move, gave Cork the upper hand, which they retained for most of the half, though Kerry matched them point for point from there until the break, with John Miskella and Michael Shields strong in defence for Cork and Alan O’Connor and Nicholas Murphy on top in midfield.

Kerry were rattled and shot some poor wides but were handed a great chance of taking the lead in the 30th minute, when they trailed by 1-4 to 0-5, as Darren O’Sullivan was fouled in the box, but Colm Cooper dragged his penalty to the right and wide.

It was tit-for-tat at the start of the second half, Cork unable to pull away to any real extent but at the same time Kerry couldn’t bridge the gap.

The Rebels, though, did have goal chances to kill the game, Michael Cussen just failing to get on the end of a Paul Kerrigan handpass across goal and Patrick Kelly shooting low and wide when put through by Daniel Goulding.

Nonetheless, O’Neill’s point put them five ahead and looking in control but slowly Kerry began to reel them in, with a Tadhg Kennelly point giving the home fans a lift.

With the momentum behind them, Kerry were level after a brilliant Cooper point when he looked to have lost possession.

Just when it seemed as if they had thrown their chance away, Cork again took the lead in injury time when Colm O’Neill, with his first touch, converted a '45' but Kerry had one more opportunity when Tomás Ó Sé was fouled and Sheehan made no mistake.

Scorers for Kerry: B Sheehan 0-5 (0-4f), C Cooper 0-3 (0-1f), D Walsh 0-2, T Walsh, T Kennelly D Ó Sé 0-1 each.

Cork: P O’Neill 1-2, D O’Connor 0-3f, D Goulding 0-2, G Canty, N O’Leary, C O’Neill (0-1 45) 0-1 each.

KERRY: D Murphy; M Ó Sé, T O’Sullivan, P Reidy; M Ó Sé, T Griffin, A O’Mahony; T Kennelly, M Quirke; Darran O’Sullivan, D Walsh, P Galvin; C Cooper, T Walsh, Declan O’Sullivan.

Subs: D Ó Sé for T Walsh (11), B Sheehan for Darran O’Sullivan (41-49, blood), Sheehan for D Walsh (49), D Moran for Quirke (50), BJ Walsh for Darran O’Sullivan (58), S O’Sullivan for Kennelly (70).

CORK: A Quirke; J Miskella, M Shields, A Lynch; G Spillane, G Canty, K O’Connor; A O’Connor, N Murphy; P Kelly, P O’Neill, P Kerrigan; D Goulding, J Masters, D O’Connor.

Subs: M Cussen for Masters (26), N O’Leary for Spillane (32), N O’Donovan for Miskella (45), B O’Regan for K O’Connor (62), C O’Neill for Goulding (65).

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

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