Cork have retained their status in the GAA's Allianz Football League Division 2 for 2023, and so also a guaranteed spot to play for Sam Maguire this season. They defeated Offaly in Tullamore on Sunday, 1-21 to 1-20, a result which saw them avoid relegation and also send their opposition to Division 3.
It was a bizarre moment in the 74th minute of the game which gave Cork's Stephen Sherlock the chance to kick the winning point from a free.
After Offaly goalkeeper Paddy Dunican kicked the ball out to Jordan Hayes - with the scores level at 1-20 each - the Edenderry man lobbed the ball back across the pitch in the direction of Dunican and Declan Hogan. At this point, Dunican quickly realised he could not touch the ball as it would be a technical foul.
The GAA rulebook states that, "A player in direct receipt of a kick-out may not pass the ball to his team’s goalkeeper without another player playing the ball."
The penalty for this, according to the GAA rulebook, is "A free kick from the position the goalkeeper receives the pass, or if the goalkeeper is inside the 13m line (whether he is inside the small rectangle or not) when in receipt of the pass, the free will be from the 13m line opposite where the foul occurred."
There was panic between Dunican and Hogan as with the goalkeeper unable to touch the ball, it was rolling towards going out for a 45. Hogan did his best to and stop the ball from crossing the end line but was unable to do so. In the end, Dunican did touch the ball, and conceded the free kick. Sherlock made no mistake from the dead ball.
GAA: Manic finish to Offaly vs Cork
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) March 27, 2022
That was the conclusion of a manic end to the game.
Cork had held the lead at half-time 1-10 to 1-7, and stretched their advantage to six early in the second half. However, Offaly fought back and drew level with 55 minutes elapsed.
With eight minutes to play, it was Offaly who held the lead by two points. Just as the clock ticked into injury time, Brian Hurley kicked Cork level at 1-19 each but a Ruairi McNamee point shortly after put Offaly back in front.
A sensational Cian Kiely point in the 73rd minute drew the game level at 1-20 each before that error in the Offaly defence gave Sherlock the chance to win the game.
Relegation to Division 3 means that unless Offaly reach the Leinster final, they will play in the GAA's inaugural Tailteann Cup this season rather than Sam Maguire.