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10th Sep 2017

WATCH: Cork win the All-Ireland with the most dramatic 60 seconds of magic

Conan Doherty

Jesus Christ, imagine this final wasn’t broadcast on television.

RTÉ’s coverage of the intermediate and senior camogie finals was top class but, honestly, the Cork and Kilkenny game took care of itself because that was an absolute classic.

The second half of the All-Ireland decider was as breathless and as dramatic as Croke Park has ever witnessed. Up and down Jones’ Road the game went, back and forward the momentum swung, and it all culminated in two heroes with ice cool veins who wrote their names into the history books as Cork dethroned the Cats.

Never has there been a better advertisements for a substitute’s role as what Julia White produced on Sunday under the Dublin rain.

She came off the bench to join Gemma O’Connor in making history and the pair between them not only hit a 60th minute equaliser to rescue the Rebelettes, but White powered through black and amber jerseys with just seconds remaining and, with tiny inches to work with, she somehow manipulated her stick to put the sliotar between the Canal End posts and win the All-Ireland for her county.

The game was littered with character, all the way from Laura Treacy in the Cork full back line.

Ashling Thompson was an real warrior at centre back. She cleaned up everything that even looked like it would half break. She took belts to the head, hurls to the face guard and she’ll be walking wounded tomorrow but that was an inspiring performance of pure heart.

Meighan Farrell led the charge for the champions and she forced the rest of them to simply refuse to bow but, sometimes, even that resilience and defiance isn’t enough.

Not in a game like this.

Not when Gemma O’Connor is doing what she did when she was called upon and, like the Cork legend she is, there was no messing around when she saw her chance – just a belief that she could make something happen.

She made a lot happen.

O’Connor stepped up with one of the finest equalising points to ever have graced headquarters.

Consider the occasion, the time, consider the downright spectacular execution. Consider that this was just after Miriam Walsh had hit one heck of a peach at the other end but perhaps this is what they mean when a game takes on a life of its own.

And, in O’Connor and White, the Cork girls weren’t hanging around waiting to see how the script would unfold. They were completely and utterly absorbed in the game, following the sliotar as if it was all that mattered in the world and the result was one epic close to a stunning final.

20,438 people were lucky enough to witness this magic live in the flesh at Croke Park but thank heavens RTÉ were there to broadcast it to the rest of the Gaelic world because was this was something special.

Only the best games can bring about the best feelings. Julia White should enjoy this forever.

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