EirGrid Munster U20 Final: Kerry claim title
EirGrid Munster Under 20 Football Championship Final
KERRY 3-11 CORK 0-14
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
Six days after retaining their senior and minor titles, and 48 hours after the Juniors made it five provincials in a row, Kerry claimed the inaugural Munster U-20 title to complete the set and put their preeminent position in Munster football in italics, in bold and underlined.
It was a comfortable win in the end for Kerry but it took a timely substitution and a penalty goal in the second half for the Kingdom to shake off a gutsy Cork side that competed gamely, but left themselves down with some poor shot selection and execution.
That timely substitution was the 41st minute introduction of Eddie Horan who, with his first touch of the ball, scored a goal to put Kerry 2-6 to 0-10 in front, and 12 minutes later Donal O'Sullivan was tripped in the square with Mark Ryan sliding his low penalty kick past Ian Giltinan to make it 3-9 to 0-12.
A brisk first 30 minutes failed to separate the teams with both having periods of dominance but in the end neither could get their nose in front at the interval.
It took Cork just 15 seconds to open the scoring, Mark Keane tapping down the throw-in to midfield partner Colm O'Callaghan who did the rest.
Damien Gore and Colm Barrett added points to put Cork three up in as many minutes, but Kerry settled into the game and were back on terms with scores from Cormac Linnane, Fiachra Clifford and Donal O'Sullivan as the game took on the ebb and flow of a decent Munster Final.
Mark Keane's 11th minute point nudged Cork back in the lead but then the hosts hit the front when David Shaw fielded high over Liam O'Donovan, turned and placed a low shot beyond Giltinan to make it 1-3 to 0-4.
Bloodied, but unbowed Cork responded with the next four points, three from Chris Og Jones, to put them back in front, 0-8 to 1-3, and it was matters even, 1-6 to 0-9, at the interval.
An early Jones free put the Rebels in front again and Kerry struggled in that opening period of the second half, but when their first score of the half arrived in the 41st minute it was a game changer. Clifford did the approach work to set up Horan for his goal, and the home side were in the ascendancy thereafter.
Clifford and O'Sullivan were the pick of the Kerry forwards but the defence stood firm too, Stefan Okunbor putting in a man of the match performance at full back, and the half back line finding a winning balance between defence and offence.
Cork will rue some needless turnovers and poor accuracy in a game they were comfortable in for 40 or so minutes, but the old adage of goals winning games rang true. So, the quartet of minor, U-20, junior and senior titles will winter in the Kingdom, with this U-20 team now set to face the Leinster champions in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Scorers for Kerry: D O'Sullivan 0-4 (2fs), M Ryan 1-0 (pen), D Shaw 1-0, E Horan 1-0, F Clifford 0-2 (1f), C Linnane 0-2, Sean O'Leary 0-2, G O'Sullivan 0-1
Scorers for Cork: C Og Jones 0-7 (3fs), C O'Callaghan 0-2, M Keane 0-2, T Corkery 0-1, C Barrett 0-1, D Gore 0-1.
KERRY: Brian Lonergan, David Naughton, Stefan Okunbor, Micheál Reidy, Mike Breen, Graham O’Sullivan, Daniel O’Brien, Mark Ryan, Diarmuid O’Connor, Fiachra Clifford, Cormac Linnane, Dara Moynihan, Donal O’Sullivan, Bryan Sweeney, David Shaw.
Subs: Brian Friel for C Linnane (37), Eddie Horan for D Shaw (41), Sean O’Leary for D Moynihan (42, b/c), Michael Potts for F Clifford (51), Micheal Foley for D O'Connor (57), Cian Gammell for D Naughton (62)
CORK: Ian Giltinan, Nathan Walsh, Sean Walsh, Kevin O’Donovan, Liam O’Donovan, Aidan Browne, Tom Linehan, Colm O’Callaghan, Mark Keane, Maurice Shanley, Tadhg Corkery, Cathal Maguire, Colm Barrett, Chris Óg Jones, Damien Gore.
Subs: Sean O Sullivan for C Maguire (ht), Killian Myers Murray for M Shanley (37), Matthew Bradley for C Barrett (50), Mark Cronin for D Gore (50), Liam Wall for S Walsh (50), Alan McCarthy for K O'Donovan (54, b/c).
REFEREE: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary)