Cork power to BGE Munster U-21 Hurling title
Bord Gáis Energy Munster U-21 Hurling Final
CORK 2-23 TIPPERARY 1-13
By John Harrington
Cork made short work of Tipperary in this evening’s Bord Gáis Energy Munster U-21 Hurling Final.
The highly impressive Rebels were just too strong, fast, skilful, and clinical for their opponents with senior stars Mark Coleman, Shane Kingston, and Robbie O’Flynn looking like men amongst boys.
Most of these Tipperary players won an All-Ireland minor title just two years ago and so aren’t quite up to the age-grade.
It showed. They simply couldn’t cope with a Cork team that had a significant size and strength advantage all over the pitch.
That made it very difficult for Tipperary to win possession both in general play and from restarts, and it was striking how often a man in a red jersey muscled past one in a blue and gold one.
Cork had a surfeit of possession and front-foot ball, and their extremely dangerous forward made the most of it.
Tipperary actually had an opportunity to land the first decisive blow of the match when they won an early penalty.
But Darragh Woods’ shot was brilliantly saved by Ger Collins and Cork never looked back thereafter.
Between the fifth and 14th minutes they scored an unanswered 1-5, with the goal a brilliant finish from O’Flynn after being put through by a clever Tim O’Mahony pass.
The Tipperary defence was struggling to cope with the range of threats posed by the Cork attack.
Half-forwards O’Flynn, Liam Healy, and Kingston had the power to break the line almost at will, while the pace and clinical finishing of corner-forwards Liam Healy and Jack O’Connor was just as devastating.
Two brilliant points in quick succession from that pair had put Cork 1-10 to 0-3 ahead by the 31st minute, and already it was looking like curtains for Tipp.
Things went from bad to worse in the second-half as they conceded a second goal shortly after the restart when O’Connor sliced through again and blasted an unstoppable shot to the back of the net.
From then on it was simply a question of how much Cork would score. Their accuracy let them down at times – they hit 14 wides over the course of the game – but they still racked up the points at a steady pace.
Tipp midfielder Ger Browne was doing his utmost to stem the tide and finished the match with four points to his name, but not enough of his team-mates reached anything like the same level of performance.
They did manage to score a goal near the end when substitute Shane Neville bundled the ball home from close-range, but by then it wasn’t much of a consolation.
Cork finished the match on a fitting exclamation mark when Coleman fired over a massive point from long distance to bring the curtain down on a brilliant individual performance from him and the team as a whole.
With a Munster U-21 title following quick on the heels of a senior one this really is a boom time for Cork hurling, and you get the feeling there are even better days to come for them.
Scorers for Cork: Declan Dalton 0-7 (4f, 1 sideline), Jack O’Connor 1-2, Robbie O’Flynn 1-1, Shane Kingston 0-4, Mark Coleman 0-3 (1f 1 sideline), Liam Healy 0-2, Daire Connery 0-1, Aaron Myers 0-1, Eoghan Murphy 0-1, Tim O’Mahony 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: Lyndon Fairbrother 0-5 (4f 1’65), Ger Browne 0-4, Shane Neville 1-0, Darragh Woods 0-2, Jerome Cahill 0-1, Jake Morris 0-1.
CORK: Ger Collins; David Lowney, David Griffin, Niall O’Leary; Eoghan Murphy, Mark Coleman, Billy Hennessy; Seadnaidh Smyth, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Robbie O’Flynn, Declan Dalton, Shane Kingston; Liam Healy, Tim O’Mahony, Jack O’Connor. Subs: Conor Cahalane for Darragh Fitzgibbon (22 mins), Daire Connery for Seadnaid Smyth (45 mins), Aaron Myers for Robbie O’Flynn (55), Micheal O’Halloran for Liam Healy (57), Chris O’Leary for Declan Dalton (57)
TIPPERARY: Ciaran Barrett, Podge Campion, Brian McGrath, Killian O’Dwyer; Cian Flanagan, Paddy Cadell, Dillon Quirke; Ger Browne, Colin English; Jerome Cahill, Paudie Feehan, Mark Kehoe; David Gleeson, Jake Morris, Daragh Woods. Subs: Craig Morgan for Podge Campion (22), Lyndon Fairbrother for Darragh Woods (ht), Cian Darcy for David Gleeson (ht), Shane Neville for Colin English (44), Conor Stakelum for Mark Kehoe (54)
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)