Cork minor hurlers gear up for championship with win over Wexford

Cork minor hurlers gear up for championship with win over Wexford
Colin Walsh of Cork in action against Colin Coughlan of Limerick during the Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship last season. He's U17 again this season. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cork 2-20 Wexford 0-12

CORK continued their preparations for the Munster minor hurling championship with a challenge game against Wexford, at Pairc Uí Chaoimh, yesterday.

They were by far the better side, with impressive displays from Tommy Walsh, David Joseph, Ben Cunningham, and Colin Walsh, to name a few. 

The Rebels will be among the favourites for silverware this summer, with Leeside icons Donal Óg Cusack, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Kieran 'Fraggie' Murphy and Tom Kenny involved in the management. At development squad level Cork have been very strong at U15 and U16 level lately, all feeding into this U17 squad.

Cunningham, the son of Cork legend Ger, scored 1-13 and was in sharp form in last year's P1 hurling final when the Barrs beat Ballincollig, while Tommy Walsh is the younger brother of Cork and Kanturk senior Aidan.

Ben Cunningham, St Finbarr's, in action against Ballincollig last season. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Ben Cunningham, St Finbarr's, in action against Ballincollig last season. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Another Kanturk hurler, Colin Walsh, got Cork off the mark and he had added a second before Cian Byrne got Wexford’s first point, from a free.

Cunningham increased Cork’s lead, before Wexford were unlucky not to get a goal. A great move saw Byrne played through, but Midleton's Brion Saunderson saved superbly to deny him.

Goalkeeper Brion Saunderson and Patrick Reale of Limerick. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Goalkeeper Brion Saunderson and Patrick Reale of Limerick. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Cunningham increased Cork’s lead, scoring from two frees, to make it 0-5 to 0-1 with 14 minutes gone.

Walsh got his second, with Micheál Mullins scoring from distance for Cork to make it 0-7 to 0-1. Alex Quirke showed that anything his midfield partner could do he could as well, with another good effort from distance for Cork.

Conor Foley pulled a point back for Wexford, with Cunningham and Byrne exchanging scores, to make it 0-10 to 0-4 with 20 minutes gone.

Cunningham added two more from frees to increase Cork’s lead, before Byrne got the last score of the half, as Cork led 0-14 to 0-5 at half-time.

Cunningham opened the scoring in the second-half, with Byrne replying for Wexford. O’Hagan and Byrne scored for Wexford to make it 0-15 to 0-8 with 40 minutes gone.

But Cunningham kept the scoreboard ticking over for Cork, with three in-a-row, before Parker and Tamley replied for Wexford. Sub William Buckley, another Barrs hurler, chipped in with two points.

With three minutes to go, Cork got their first goal, when Cunningham burst past the Wexford defence to rattle the back of the net. In injury time, Diarmuid Healy got Cork’s second. 

The win shows Cork in good form ahead of the Munster championship and a week earlier they recorded a similar victory over the Leinster side up in Wexford Park. 

Thanks to Pat Horgan, minor hurling liaison, for his help with the subs, as there was no team sheet.

Midleton CBS' Alex Quirke flicks the ball away from An Gaelcolaiste Mhuire An Mhainistir Thuaidh's Michéal Mullins during the Cork colleges U16 A hurling final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Midleton CBS' Alex Quirke flicks the ball away from An Gaelcolaiste Mhuire An Mhainistir Thuaidh's Michéal Mullins during the Cork colleges U16 A hurling final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Scorers for Cork: B Cunningham 1-13 (0-7 f), D Healy 1-0, C Walsh, W Buckley 0-2 each, M Mullins, A Quirke, A Walsh 0-1 each.

Wexford: C Byrne 0-6 f, C Foley, B Hassey, S O’Hagan, D Carley, C Parker, JJ Tamley 0-1 each.

CORK: B Saunderson; K Lyons, T Walsh, D Joseph; J Kenneally, G Walsh-Wallace, B O’Connor; A Quirke , M Mullins; B Cunningham, M Howell, C Walsh; D Healy, A Walsh, B Nodwell.

Subs: T O’Connell for J Kenneally (35), S O’Riordan for D Joseph, W Buckley for A Walsh (both 35), J Oki for M Howell (45), B Keating for B Nodwell, D O’Sullivan for B O’Connor (both 50),

WEXFORD: D Mahon; D Kehoe, R Hillis, C Doyle; E Whelan, L Shockmon, B Hassey; D O’Leary, L Murphy; C Foley, O Pepper, D Carley; S O’Hagan, C Byrne, C Dunbar.

Subs: JJ Tamley for L Murphy (h-t), L Roche for C Dunbar (35), C Parker for R Hillis (46),

Referee: Cathal McAlister, Cork.

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