Cork booked their ticket to a Division One Allianz National Football League meeting with Dublin, after seeing off a spirited Armagh challenge at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon.
However, the Ulster side will not be too disappointed as other results on the day went in their favour and they have retained their top flight status for at least another season. Armagh finished just ahead of Galway and Monaghan and their win over the latter in their head to head was enough to see them through.
Cork required the introduction of Donnacha O’Connor after the break to rescue a game that looked to be slipping away from them for large periods of the afternoon.
O’Connor, scored 2-3 after making an appearance just after the restart and was pleased to have negotiated this final hurdle:
“We’re through to another final and the feeling at the start was that we had to get a win no matter how we got it. The second half was tough but we got through it in the end are we have to be happy with that.”
The home side led by a single point at the interval(0-7 to 0-6) with Daniel Goulding scoring six points. When O’Connor was fouled shortly after coming on in the second period, he took the resultant penalty himself and fired his side further ahead. However, Armagh were determined to make a real game of this and were soon level when Aaron Kernan scored a three pointer for the visitors. The crucial score was a somewhat fortunate goal for Cork, O’Connor finishing after Paddy Kelly’s shot rebounded off the post.
The home side did enough in the final minutes to hold out and claim a place in the league decider, while Armagh will be happy that results went their way and they live to fight another day. The Orchard County stepped up a gear in this encounter and with their Crossmaglen players now back in the fold, they can begin to look forward to the Ulster championship.
Cork (SF v Armagh): K O’Halloran; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; N O’Leary, J Miskella, P Kissane; A O’Connor, N Murphy; F Goold, P O’Neill, C Sheehan; D Goulding, F Lynch, P Kerrigan.