Cork 2-22 Kilkenny 2-23
Kilkenny pushed Cork closer to second tier league hurling next season by condemning them to a fourth successive loss in a thriller in front of a crowd of just over 8,000 at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
Cork led by six points approaching the end only for the All-Ireland champions to produce a typical late scoring burst to shock the home faithful.
Colin Fennelly started the Cats' fight-back by poking in their first goal in the 67th minute and when the outstanding TJ Reid added a second a couple of minutes later, Kilkenny had nudged 2-22 to 2-20 clear.
But, Cork, whose tigerish display contrasted sharply with their timid surrender against Dublin the previous week, responded with two Conor Lehane points to level matters in the first minute of three added-on for injuries.
Bill Cooper registered Cork's 12th wide before new goalkeeper Patrick Collins mis-directed a pass straight to Kilkenny substitute John Power, who gratefully accepted the gift to hit the winner.
It was tough luck on Cork, who now face a relegation play-off, irrespective of their final game away to Tipperary, but they can take plenty of positives, particularly the display of Seamus Harnedy at full forward.
The home side, wearing their commemorative 1916 blue jerseys, contested every ball, hounded Kilkenny every time they had possession and the defence, so porous last time out, remained solid until those dramatic late moments.
Cork laid down a marker from the outset, Kilkenny midfielder Conor Fogarty forced off injured from the throw-in and the brilliant Lehane pointing inside 40 seconds.
And a super Harnedy goal in the 14th minute, following Brian Lawton's ball from out the field, shoved them 1-5 to 0-3 clear. He could have had a second minutes later, but for a weak shot at goalkeeper Richie Reid.
Three times Cork led by seven points, but Kilkenny slowly began reeling them in.
The combination of TJ Reid, accurate from frees and open play, and Walter Walsh cut Cork's advantage to four at the break, 1-12 to 0-11, the game nicely set-up for the second-half.
Kilkenny dominated early on the resumption, hitting five points without reply to first of all draw level and then take the lead for the first time. Cork, however, took over, Cooper forcing in their second goal after 50 minutes and they led by 2-16 to 0-17.
Roared on by their supporters, Cork seemed to be heading for the first points of the season as Daniel Kearney made it a two-goal game, 2-20 to 0-20, before Kilkenny silenced the locals with their stunning comeback.
CORK: P Collins; D Cahalane, S McDonnell (capt), K Burke; C Murphy (0-2), C Joyce, L McLoughlin (0-1); P Haughney (0-1), J Cronin; B Lawton (0-1), B Cooper (1-0), C Lehane (0-6, one free); L O'Farrell (0-1), S Harnedy (1-3), P Horgan (0-6, four frees, one 65).
Subs: D Kearney (0-1) for Cronin (48 mins), S Moylan for Haughney (58 mins), P O'Sullivan for Horgan (65 mins), W Egan for Murphy (68 mins).
KILKENNY: R Reid; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast (capt); P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty, D Cody (0-1); C Fennelly (1-2), TJ Reid (1-12, 10 frees), C Martin; W Walsh (0-3), R Hogan (0-1), K Kelly.
Subs: L Ryan (0-3) for Fogarty (injured, 1st min), J Maher for Martin (half-time), J Power (0-1) for Kelly (50 mins).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).