Cork 3-12 Kerry 3-11
Courtesy of Eoghan Cormican (The Examiner)
A Ciaran O’Sullivan point in the fourth minute of second-half stoppages saw Cork come out on top in this enthralling Munster U20 semi-final contest.
Cork – who operated with 14 men from the 49th minute onward following a second yellow card to corner-back Colm O’Donovan and who did not score between the 46th and 63rd minute – succeeded in conjuring up a winning score at the death after Kerry had wiped out a six-point deficit to draw level deep in injury-time.
Extra-time appeared inevitable after a Sean Quilter free levelled matters in the fourth minute of injury-time, but Cork, in the ensuing play, eked out a winner from sub O’Sullivan. Credit too to Cork midfielder Brian Hayes who made a huge catch to set the Cork attack in motion.
A powerful third quarter from Keith Ricken’s charges – during which they outscored the Kingdom by 1-4 to 0-2 – handed Cork a 3-11 to 2-8 lead at the second water break. Cork’s third goal was supplied by their outstanding performer Conor Corbett who finished with 2-4.
Momentum swung back in Kerry’s favour on 49 minutes when corner-back O’Donovan received a second yellow for a footblock on Paul O’Shea. The latter converted the subsequent penalty, with Kerry adding three scores coming down the stretch to tie matters.
O’Shea was presented with a late, late chance to force extra-time following Ciaran O’Sullivan’s point, but he kicked wide.
The result means all five Kerry minor teams from 2014-18 have passed through the U21/20 age grade without managing a single All-Ireland title An entertaining first-half had seen goal chances aplenty at either end, with both sides raising two green flags apiece.
Cork’s second, which arrived in the third minute of first-half stoppages, handed the home side a slender 2-7 to 2-6 interval lead. It was a goal that had its roots in a Brian Hayes turnover of Kerry centre-back Eoghan O’Sullivan. Possession was quickly transferred inside, with Jack Cahalane feeding Conor Corbett who finished emphatically.
The same two Cork forwards were centrally involved in the county’s opening major on 19 minutes, Corbett assisting for Cahalane on that occasion. The Castlehaven youngster’s strike levelled proceedings at 1-4 apiece after Kerry had taken a 1-3 to 0-4 lead into the first water break.
The semi-final’s opening goal had arrived just before this minute’s pause in action, Kerry midfielder Darragh Lyne, fed by Eoghan O’Sullivan, striding through the Cork cover and rolling the ball into the corner of Gavin Creedon’s goal.
A Kerry goal had been on the cards from early on. Dylan Geaney hit the post with their outstanding chance of the opening exchanges, with Paul O’Shea getting caught in two minds as to whether to shoot or pass when presented with a subsequent opportunity.
Cork were also guilty of failing to put away scoring opportunities. The post was twice hit, Colin Walsh shot straight at ‘keeper Marc Kelliher, while four wides were tallied.
Kerry’s second goal, on 23 minutes, was in direct response to Cork’s opening major from Cahalane and shoved the visitors back out to three in front, 2-4 to 1-4. Paul O’Shea instigated the score with a fine fetch in the middle of the field, the move ending with Geaney finding the net.
Kerry relinquished the lead when Cork worked a second green flag and they failed to win it back between there and the finish.
C Corbett (2-4, 0-2 frees); J Cahalane (1-0) D Buckley (0-3); A Walsh-Murphy, D Dorgan (0-1 free), C Walsh, C O’Hanlon, C O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
D Geaney (1-4, 0-4 frees); P O’Shea (1-2, 1-0 pen); D Lyne (1-0); S Quilter (0-2, 0-2 frees); C Falvey, C Hayes, R Ó Beaglaoich (0-1 each).
G Creedon (Kilshannig); C O’Donovan (Newcestown), D Phelan (Aghada), C McGoldrick (Éire Óg); A Walsh-Murphy (Valley Rovers), T Walsh (Kanturk), D Cashman (Millstreet); B Hayes (St Finbarr’s), E Cooke (Ballincollig); C Corbett (Clyda Rovers), J Cahalane (Castlehaven), N Hartnett (Douglas); D Dorgan (Ballincollig), C Walsh (Kanturk), D Buckley (Newcestown).
C O’Hanlon (Buttevant) for C Walsh (28); S McDonnell (Mallow) for Dorgan (39-42, temporary); S O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for O’Hanlon (41, inj); E Nash (Douglas) for Dorgan (56); N Lordan (Ballinora) for Phelan (56, inj); C O’Sullivan (Kilshannig) for Cooke (61).
M Kelliher (Glenflesk); D Murphy (Rathmore), J McCarthy (Kenmare Shamrocks), O Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla); C Moriarty (Annascaul), E O’Sullivan (Legion), E Clifford (Laune Rangers); D Lyne (Legion), S O’Brien (Beaufort); T Doyle (Dr Crokes), P O’Shea (Kilcummin), K Falvey (Annascaul); C Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys), D Geaney (Dingle), R Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht).
J Kennelly (Ballydonoghue) for Doyle, S Quilter (Austin Stacks) for Hayes (both 40); A Dineen (Rathmore) for Moriarty (47); P Darcy (Glenflesk) for Falvey (50); P Walsh (Brosna) for Ó Beaglaoich (59).
J Hayes (Limerick).
Picture courtesy of George Hatchell