Cork will play in Group A of the restructured Allianz Hurling League Division 1 next year after Jamie Coughlan's injury-time goal helped them to victory over Kilkenny at Nowlan Park.
It's unlikely that the Cats will lose any sleep over this defeat, however, as Group B is arguably less competitive. Whereas Cork will face All-Ireland champions Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Galway and Westmeath, Brian Cody's men can look forward to games against Wexford, Clare, Dublin, Laois and Carlow.
While the meeting of the old rivals was nothing more than a glorified challenge match, it was still a noteworthy result for Cork who hadn't won at Nowlan Park in 32 years. With the wind behind them, the hosts seemed poised for victory when they led by 1-15 to 1-12 with three minutes of normal time remaining, but despite hitting 19 wides, the Rebels outscored them by 1-3 to 0-1 down the final stretch to claim an unlikely win.
Shane Kingston gave John Meyler's men an early lead, but Kilkenny hit back with points from Billy Ryan and Alan Murphy to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish until stoppage-time. A 33rd minute penalty by Murphy following a foul on James Maher had the Cats perched on a 1-8 to 0-6 lead at the break.
Brian Cody's charges continued to hold the upperhand until a Jack O'Connor goal on the hour-mark levelled at 1-11 apiece. Kilkenny regained the initiative before a Conor Lehane free sparked a late flourish from Cork. Sub Mark Coleman tagged on another point before Coughlan, who also came off the bench, fired a loose ball to the net in the 71st minute to give the Rebels a 2-14 to 1-15 lead.
Richie Hogan and Conor Lehane, who finished with 0-8 to his credit, traded points thereafter as the visitors prevailed.
Cork - A Nash; S O'Donoghue, D Cahalane, D Browne; R Downey, T O'Mahony, M Coleman (0-1); G Millerick, B Cooper; C Murphy (0-1), R O'Flynn, L Meade (0-2); C Lehane (0-8, 6f, 1'65), A Walsh, S Kingston (0-3). Subs: J O'Connor (1-0) for A Walsh, D Fitzgibbon for C Murphy, J Coughlan (1-0) for S Kingston.
Kilkenny - E Murphy; M Cody, P Deegan, C Wallace; E Morrissey, C O'Shea, T Walsh; J Maher (0-1), C Browne; P Lyng, A Murphy (1-4, 1-0pen, 0-2f, 0-1'65), R Leahy (0-2); B Ryan (0-1), R Hogan (0-5, 3f), N Brassil (0-3). Subs: A Nolan for C O'Shea, G Malone for P Lyng, J Donnelly for A Murphy, M Keoghan for R Leahy.
Referee - J Owens.Tweet