Supersub O'Connor helps Cork overcome Cadogan red card
Cork dug deep in the second half to beat Armagh at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday and set up a league final date with Dublin on Easter Sunday.
Following the dismissal of Eoin Cadogan in the 48th minute, Cork looked to be in trouble against an Armagh team that had stayed with them stride for stride up until then, but Conor Counihan's troops emerged easy winners, benefiting from greater horsepower late on and a superb scoring cameo from substitute Donncha O'Connor.
Armagh were the better team in the opening 35, with Steven McDonnell and Jamie Clarke very dangerous as they led by two points on three separate occasions.
James Lavery and Charlie Vernon were also competing well at midfield against Alan O'Connor and Aidan Walsh.
Cork were playing into the Blackrock End terrace in the first half, where an advertising hoarding for a local fertiliser company reads 'Goulding Grows'.
The Rebels' No 13 of the same name -- Daniel -- showed that he is continuing to become a central figure as he scored Cork's first six points before Aidan Walsh sent over a beauty to leave it 0-7 to 0-6 at the break. However, the introduction of O'Connor for Fiachra Lynch at half-time gave Cork an extra dimension in attack.
The All-Star finished with a tally of 2-3, including a 40th-minute penalty to open up a 1-7 to 0-7 lead for the home side.
Almost immediately though, Armagh were level, as McDonnell gathered a good delivery by Micheal O'Rourke and handpassed to Aaron Kernan, who had an easy task to find the net and seemingly leave the final 25 minutes nicely poised.
While Cork led 1-10 to 0-8 by the time of Cadogan's sending-off -- referee Maurice Condon showing red for the corner-back swinging his arm back and connecting with McDonnell as he attempted to escape his clutches -- Armagh looked likelier winners.
Tony Kernan was initially used cleverly as an extra man, but Cork's positional re-jigging worked and they began to take control.
Though Armagh did remain with their hosts for a while, Billy Joe Padden and Aaron Kernan levelling at 1-11 and 1-12 respectively, it was in the final 10 minutes that Cork really stretched their legs, scoring 1-2 without reply.
After O'Connor and Walsh had scored excellent efforts, the sub then scored his second goal, his shot deflecting off Vincent Martin and past Paul Hearty after Paddy Kelly's fisted effort had come back off the post. Sheehan capped an excellent period of ball-retention with the final score in the last minute of normal time, while Armagh's Kieran Toner was sent off late on for a second booking.
Man of the Match: Donncha O'Connor (Cork)
Scorers -- Cork: D O'Connor 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), D Goulding 0-7 (3f), C Sheehan, A Walsh 0-2 each, P Kerrigan 0-1. Armagh: A Kernan 1-2 (0-1f), J Clarke, S McDonnell (2f, 1 '45) 0-4 each, BJ Padden, A Mallon 0-1 each.
CORK -- K O'Halloran 6; E Cadogan 7, M Shields 8, R Carey 6; J Miskella 7, N O'Leary 7, P Kissane 8; A O'Connor 7, A Walsh 8; F Goold 7, P O'Neill 6, C Sheehan 7; D Goulding 8, F Lynch 5, P Kerrigan 7. Subs: D O'Connor 8 for Lynch (h-t), P Kelly 7 for O'Neill (56), J O'Sullivan 6 for Carey (65), P O'Flynn for Kerrigan (70), D O'Sullivan for Walsh (70).
ARMAGH -- P Hearty 6; A Mallon 6, K Toner 5, B Donaghy 6; A Kernan 8, V Martin 7, K Dyas 6; J Lavery 7, C Vernon 7; M Mackin 6, BJ Padden 6, P Duffy 6; J Clarke 7, S McDonnell 7, M O'Rourke 5. Subs: T Kernan 6 for Duffy (44), G Swift 6 for O'Rourke (56), A Duffy 6 for Mackin (60), D McKenna for Dyas (65), F Hanratty for Padden (70).
Ref -- M Condon (Waterford).