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Cork steal last-gasp win over Down

If you are on of those who believe that a two-point lead in Gaelic Football is a dangerous one then your beliefs were confirmed at Portlaoise yesterday.

Down appeared to have won their second title at this level when team captain Timmy Hanna put the ball in the Cork net with six minutes remaining but the Leesiders struck in injury time when Colm O’Driscoll volleyed a rebound to the net after Gavan Joyce had saved brilliantly from Goold. Unfortunately for Down the goal the goal came after Cork won possession from a poorly placed free kick from the Down goal area after Conor Poland had been fouled following a brilliant catch by the Longstone man back in the Down square.

Down were first to score when Paul Devlin pointed an early free but for much of the first half they were chasing the game. The Cork full forward line of O’Neill, Goold and O’Driscoll looked particularly dangerous. Points from McComiskey and a second Devlin free kept Down in touch but Cork scored three without reply to move into a 0-7 to 0-04 lead after twenty minutes. Down were guilty of some glaring misses in the first half and after kicking six first half wides, four of them in the ten minutes before the beak they trailed 0-05 to 0-08.

Down made light of the deteriorating conditions when they came out or the second half and after McComiskey and substitute Fitzpatrick had exchanged points Down added points from a McComiskey free and a well taken point from play by Fitzpatrick when he took possession from a Murphy free to close the margin between the teams to a single point seven minutes after the restart. .

Conor Poland back in his own square brought off a great catch but he was fouled and with the game now well into stoppage time Down had a free from their own square. It was the time for the proverbial “long relieving clearance” but somehow the ball was kicked to a Cork man, they worked their way in and although Joyce did take off a good stop from Goold the ball it was |O’Driscoll who reacted quickest to volley the ball to the net. Down did go downfield from the kick out but when they lost possession referee Reilly sounded the final whistle.

DOWN: Gavan Joyce Mark Digney Colm Murney Damian Turley, Timmy Hanna John Fitzpatrick Joe Murphy, Michael Magee 0-2 Peter Fitzpatrick, Eamon Toner 1-00 Conor Maginn Jamie O’Reilly, Paul Devlin 0-03 Paul McComiskey 0-04 Conor Poland 1-00 sub used, Niall Higgins for Digney

CORK: A Seymour; S McLoughlan, L Jennings, N Galvin; C O'Driscoll, A Walsh, B Daly; C O'Donovan, K O'Driscoll; C Sheehan, M Collins (0-2), C O'Driscoll (1-0); C O'Neill (0-5, 2f), D Goold (0-5, 3f), P Honahan. Subs: J Fitzpatrick (0-1) for Sheehan (32-inj); B Lombard for Jennings (49); B O'Driscoll for Honahan (62); L McLoughlin for K O'Driscoll (62)

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