Super sub Coughlan to fore as late Rebels flourish sinks Cats
Cork 2-15 Kilkenny 1-16
Cork produced two minutes of brilliance nearing the finish, shooting 1-2 without reply, to snatch an unlikely victory over Kilkenny in this Division IA relegation battle in Nowlan Park yesterday.
Kilkenny, with the wind at their backs, were looking good when points from James Maher and Richie Hogan put them 1-15 to 1-12 clear on 67 minutes.
Cork already had 19 wides registered, but suddenly everything clicked for them. Conor Lehane tapped over a close-in free. Mark Coleman added another from play before substitute Jamie Coughlan made the best of a loose ball near the edge of the square to tap it into the net.
Suddenly Cork were 2-14 to 1-15 ahead. In the wind-up there was an exchange of points between Hogan and Lehane, but Cork were home and into Group A of next year's revised league along with All-Ireland champions, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Galway and Westmeath.
Kilkenny led by double scores of 1-9 to 0-6 when Hogan fired over an early second-half point. However, the opposition slowly crept back into the match.
Cork drew level at 1-11 each on the hour mark when James O'Connor rifled home a goal.
Although they fell behind again, they regrouped to come up with a good winning effort.
Cork began the game backed by the wind but they missed an ocean of chances, hitting half-time with 11 wides marked against them.
The only time the visitors led was when Shane Kingston clipped over the opening point after 80 seconds.
When Kilkenny levelled through Billy Ryan and then took the lead with an Alan Murphy free in the fifth minute, they made the best of virtually every chance that came their way.
The Cats reached the break leading by 1-8 to 0-6. The goal arrived via a penalty in the 33rd minute following a foul on Maher as he charged towards the Cork goal. Murphy blasted the penalty to the net to the left of goalie Anthony Nash.
The fact that Kilkenny were that much ahead was due to Cork's poor shooting plus two vital and excellent saves by goalkeeper Eoin Murphy, who was in top form.
The second half opened in promising fashion for Kilkenny, but it was Cork who were singing at the finish after a far from sizzling encounter.
Scorers - Cork: C Lehane 0-8 (6fs, 165); J O'Connor, J Coughlan 1-0 each; S Kingston 0-3; L Meade 0-2; M Coleman, C Murphy 0-1 each. Kilkenny: A Murphy 1-4 (1-0 goal pen, 2fs, 165); R Hogan 0-5 (3f); N Brassil 0-3; R Leahy 0-2; J Maher, B Ryan 0-1 each.
Cork: A Nash; S O'Donoghue, D Cahalane, D Browne; R Downey, T O'Mahony, M Coleman; G Millerick, B Cooper; C Murphy, R O'Flynn, L Meade; C Lehane, A Walsh, S Kingston. Subs: J O'Connor for A Walsh (45); D Fitzgibbon for C Murphy (45); J Coughlan for Kingston (68).
Kilkenny: E Murphy; M Cody, P Deegan, C Wallace; E Morrissey, C O'Shea, T Walsh; J Maher, C Browne; P Lyng, A Murphy, R Leahy; B Ryan, R Hogan, N Brassil. Subs: A Nolan for C O'Shea (h-t); G Malone for P Lyng (h-t); J Donnelly for A Murphy (52); M Keoghan for Leahy (62).
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).
Sunday Indo Sport