Pitch Coaching Session on Kicking Skills with Conor Counihan

Cork win U20 hurling title

ONeills.com All-Ireland U-20 HC Final

Cork 2-22 Offaly 3-13

By Kevin Egan at FBD Semple Stadium

Cork’s explosive start to the second half powered them to U-20 championship glory this afternoon in Thurles, as Offaly simply couldn’t match the Rebels’ power and athleticism once Ben O’Connor’s side moved into a higher gear.

Team captain Micheál Mullins set the tone when he took possession tight from the throw in and powered down the heart of the Offaly defence before blasting the ball to the net, and over the next ten minutes, Cork turned a nip and tuck contest that enthralled and excited just under 30,000 supporters, into as comfortable a victory as any team could possibly hope to experience in an All-Ireland final at any grade.

Six points in a row followed, with key forwards Jack Leahy, William Buckley and Ben Cunningham all on the mark from a variety of angles, the majority of them brought about by their ability to win their own ball and hold off defenders to generate a clean look at the posts.

As has been their trademark all year, Offaly’s resilience and persistence was admirable from the moment when Adam Screeney broke Cork’s run with a free in the 40th minute, but they simply didn’t have the strength to generate the momentum they needed to really bring the crowd back into the game.

Conor Doyle’s goal gave a brief glimpse of hope, but straight away Cork came back down the field and Diarmuid Healy split the uprights with a wonderful point from the right corner of the attack, and that was how the contest continued. Offaly worked incredibly hard to generate chances against a resolute Cork defence and an imperious half-back line, but two or three in a row proved elusive, particularly with Ben Cunningham beginning to find his groove.

The depth of the Cork panel came to the fore as Eoin O’Leary and Adam O’Sullivan put in big shifts of the bench, and while Shane Rigney did fire in a late goal for the Faithful County, it was far too late to put any real pressure on the rampant Rebels.

It was all so different from the first half, when the hurling was physical, intense, and of the highest quality. Cork got a huge early boost when Diarmuid Healy pounced on a loose ball and clinically found the bottom corner with a perfectly placed daisy cutter of a shot, but the real star of the show was Adam Screeney, who was almost unstoppable in the left corner of the Offaly attack. He picked off two glorious points of his own, won a string of frees that he converted, and set up the attack that saw Cormac Egan hit with a frontal challenge by Shane Kingston, leading to Dan Ravenhill’s perfect penalty to retake the lead.

Once Offaly got the ball into the hands of their mercurial talisman, good things happened, and he set up another wonderful goal chance for Egan, though Cork were able to make a block.

However as the half wore on, Cork did a better job of covering off the space and restricting the supply of ball into the full-forward line, and the signs were ominous for Offaly as Cork fired four points in a row to build a 1-11 to 1-9 interval lead, and that was after a half in which Offaly hadn’t shot a wide, and their only missed scoring chance was Egan’s effort, which ultimately yielded a score from the subsequent 65.

Still, as the roars echoed around the ground at half-time, and with a slight breeze set to favour the midlanders in the second half, it felt like this one was still in the balance.

The script was about to change dramatically, as Cork were on the cusp of a surge of scores that was to put the James Nolan cup firmly in their hands.

SCORERS FOR CORK: Ben Cunningham 0-9 (0-5f), Jack Leahy 0-4, William Buckley 0-4, Micheál Mullins 1-1, Diarmuid Healy 1-1, David Cremin 0-1, Tadhg O’Connell 0-1, Adam O’Sullivan 0-1.

SCORERS FOR OFFALY: Adam Screeney 0-9 (0-7f), Dan Ravenhill 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f, 0-1 65), Conor Doyle 1-0, Shane Rigney 1-0.

CORK: Brion Saunderson; Mark Howell, Shane Kingston, Darragh O’Sullivan; James Dwyer, Ben O’Connor, Micheál Mullins; Tadhg O’Connell, Eoin Downey; Diarmuid Healy, William Buckley, Ben Cunningham; Ross O’Sullivan, David Cremin, Jack Leahy.

SUBS: Eoin O’Leary for O’Sullivan (45), Adam O’Sullivan for Cremin (48), Colin Walsh for Leahy (55), Brian Keating for O’Connell (57), Ciarán Doolin for Dwyer (57)

OFFALY: Mark Troy; Patrick Taaffe, James Mahon, Brecon Kavanagh; Luke Watkins, Sam Bourke, Ter Guinan; Colin Spain, Cathal King; Dan Bourke, Cormac Egan, Conor Doyle; Dan Ravenhill, Charlie Mitchell, Adam Screeney.

SUBS: Shane Rigney for Egan (half-time), Barry Egan for Mitchell (39), Rúairí Kelly for Taaffe (39), Joe Hoctor for King (45), Ailbe Watkins for Spain (53)

REF: Chris Mooney (Dublin).

All-Ireland SFC Group Two

All-Ireland SFC Group Two

Kerry 1-14 Cork 0-15

By Stephen Barry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Kerry earned two precious points on Leeside to get their All-Ireland defence back on track, albeit without showing the class that got them up the steps of the Hogan Stand.

They led from pillar to post, but Cork never stopped nibbling away at them, with David Clifford’s 47th-minute penalty, after Seán Powter was sent to the sin bin, giving Kerry enough of a cushion. Clifford outscored the Rebels by 1-2 to 0-1 in that 10-minute spell with an extra man. He ended with 1-5.

Their first meeting back at Páirc Uí Chaoimh since Mark Keane’s shock strike knocked the Kingdom out of the Covid Championship in 2020 ended with another high ball raining down on the Kerry defence. This time, 14,081 fans were present to see them hold out.

They join Cork and Mayo on two points in Group 1, with the Westerners to meet winless Louth tomorrow.

Seán O’Shea showed sparks of his 2022 form from the off. He was well up for this one, fist-pumping his first from play in the seventh minute (one of three early points set up by Paul Geaney) before adding two more. Maurice Shanley was soon switched to pick him up.

Shanley’s run had created Cork’s opener for Chris Óg Jones, with Brian O’Driscoll and Brian Hurley (free) keeping them in touch.

Kerry kicked three in a row thereafter to push them four up, with Adrian Spillane, Paudie Clifford, and O’Shea keeping them in control.

Powter was deployed as the Cork sweeper, while Paul Murphy took up the free role at the other end. Powter did advance with a skillful give-and-go for a deflected point as both defences denied goal chances.

Daniel O’Mahony was trusted with tagging David Clifford and they shared an engrossing duel. Clifford got off the mark in the fifth minute but O’Mahony dispossessed him twice shortly after.

Clifford retreated further outfield as the rate of scoring began to dwindle. He launched one missile between the posts from outside the 45 on the half-hour to end a nine-minute scoreless spell. He soon found himself playing crossfield passes within his own 45 as Cork seemed pleased to keep Kerry within sight against the wind.

A Hurley free brought them within one score but Paudie Clifford made it 0-9 to 0-5 at half-time.

Jack O’Connor sent Ruairí Murphy on for Spillane at the break but it was Cork who got the jump on the restart.

They had four points inside seven minutes against one O’Shea free, with scores from Hurley (a mark and a free), Powter with a turn of pace, and Killian O’Hanlon, who fired a potential goal chance over.

The heat was being turned up in the Páirc Uí Chaoimh sun, with the crowd getting involved, but one turnover would turn to disaster for the hosts.

Powter coughed up possession after taking a wrong turn, Jack Barry sent Geaney into space and he exchanged a one-two with Tom O’Sullivan.

Powter, desperate to make up for his mistake, brought Geaney down, and David Gough issued a black card and awarded a penalty.

David Clifford stepped up and sent the goalie the wrong way.

Kerry would stretch their lead to five with the man advantage thanks to two more Clifford points before Powter’s return. 1-12 to 0-10 with 13 minutes to go.

Cork kept fighting and their subs were making an impact, with Eoghan McSweeney scoring with his first touch and a huge Steven Sherlock point helping to cut the gap to two.

David Clifford burst through a packed defence to point but it didn’t quite settle Kerry. The Rebels raided back upfield to send Sherlock in on goal but he blazed over from a tight angle.

Clifford laid off to O’Sullivan, his engine still carrying him from end to end, for a tap-over, insurance point in the 73rd minute.

McSweeney’s final score came with time all but up.

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), Seán O’Shea 0-5 (2fs), Paudie Clifford 0-2; Tom O’Sullivan, Adrian Spillane 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Brian Hurley 0-6 (5fs, 1m), Seán Powter, Eoghan McSweeney, Steven Sherlock 0-2 each, Brian O’Driscoll, Killian O’Hanlon, Chris Óg Jones 0-1 each.

Kerry: Shane Ryan; Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan; Paul Murphy, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White; Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Barry; Dara Moynihan, Seán O’Shea, Adrian Spillane; Paudie Clifford, David Clifford, Paul Geaney.

Subs: Ruairí Murphy for Spillane (h-t), Stephen O’Brien for Moynihan (61), Tony Brosnan for Geaney (62), Barry Dan O’Sullivan for Barry (65), Micheál Burns for P Clifford (70+2).

Cork: Mícheál Aodh Martin; Maurice Shanley, Rory Maguire, Kevin O’Donovan; Luke Fahy, Daniel O’Mahony, Matty Taylor; Colm O’Callaghan, Ian Maguire; Brian O’Driscoll, Ruairí Deane, Killian O’Hanlon; Seán Powter, Brian Hurley, Chris Óg Jones.

Subs: Steven Sherlock for Jones (48), Eoghan McSweeney for O’Hanlon (59), John O’Rourke for Deane (65), Blake Murphy for Hurley (70+2), Tom Clancy for R Maguire (70+2).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).