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Sting in tail for Cork as Kerry snatch replay

Kerry 2-15 Cork 3-12

By Colm Keys

On a day when the character of this Cork football team was embellished after a bruising few weeks since the League final, it took an act of great courage and nerve from an unlikely source to preserve Kerry's 20-year record of avoiding Championship defeat to their great rivals in Killarney.

Fionn Fitzgerald's equaliser from 40 metres, with the two minutes of added time signalled by referee Padraig Hughes already elapsed, may have had a look of speculation about it as he floated it casually on the breeze, but no one among the 35,651 crowd was in any doubt about the defender's intent.

Having fallen behind for a third time to Barry O'Driscoll's goal more than eight minutes earlier, Kerry drew much relief from Fitzgerald bringing an edgy and most unconvincing period to an end.

It was a fifth Killarney Munster Championship draw between these teams in 14 seasons, following on from the 2002 and 2006 Munster finals and the 2009 and 2010 semi-finals.

But in the context of how Cork have performed on most of their biggest days over the last two seasons the failure to close it out will cut deep. An opportunity lost?

The disappointment was etched on the face and in the voice of Cork manager Brian Cuthbert afterwards.

Unloved and unfashionable in some quarters, routinely ridiculed in others, they threw everything at it in the second-half and, from four points down and playing against the wind, twice put themselves in a position where it looked like they would win.

"I thought we had it," said Cuthbert. "Absolutely delighted with how the players played, the effort, the spirit and heart they showed. There's no such thing as deserving to win matches really but today I felt we had done enough to win."

Kerry: B Kealy; S Enright, F Fitzgerald, M O Se; K Young, P Crowley, J Lyne; D Moran, B Sheehan; S O'Brien, J Buckley, D Walsh; BJ Keane, K Donaghy, J O'Donoghue. Subs: A Maher for Moran BC (43), C Cooper for O'Brien (43), D O'Sullivan for Buckley (47), P Geaney for Keane (50), J Sherwood for Sheehan (60), P Murphy for Crowley (66).

Scorers: J O'Donoghue 1-2 (1-0 pen), B Sheehan 0-4 (3fs), K Donaghy 1-0, BJ Keane 0-3 (1f),F Fitzgerald, J Buckley, D Walsh, C Cooper, A Maher, P Geaney all 0-1 each.

Cork: K O'Halloran; S Cronin, E Cadogan, J Loughrey; Brian O'Driscoll, M Shields, Barry O'Driscoll, A O'Connor, K O'Driscoll; P Kerrigan, M Collins, F Goold; C O'Neill, D O'Connor, B Hurley. Subs: P Kelly for Kerrigan (22), C Dorman for Cronin (59), R Deane for Goold (60), D Goulding for D O'Connor (61), C O'Driscoll for Hurley (66), J O'Sullivan for C O'Driscoll BC (71).

Scorers: C O'Neill 1-6 (0-3fs, 0-1 45), D O'Connor 1-3 (0-2fs), Barry O'Driscoll 1-1, K O'Driscoll 0-2.

Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).

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