Cork U20s making full use of their talented panel explains selector Ryan

Cork U20s making full use of their talented panel explains selector Ryan
Brian Turnbull of Cork shoots for a score. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

AS they had against Limerick a week earlier, the Cork U20 hurlers upped the gears in the second half against Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn on Wednesday.

The core of the team came close to All-Ireland glory at minor level and when it mattered they showed their class here, ultimately winning by nine points, with Brian Turnbull, Shane O'Regan and Tommy O'Connell all shooting the lights out. 

Selector Fergus Ryan was involved with Rebel boss Denis Ring at minor and with the U21s that fell just short last year and is confident this group is going in the right direction, absorbing the lessons from recent seasons.  

Fergus Ryan. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Fergus Ryan. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"The minor final two years ago wasn't a reflection of Clare's ability and they came down with a point to prove. The most pleasing aspect of both games was that we finished strongly. The team are very fit (Stephen Casey is in charge of S&C). 

"We're always learning. People might say we haven't used subs in the past when maybe we should have. The policy this year is that because we've a great squad of players we'll make the most of them and the subs got us over the line. Tipp have found a few players from two years ago and we're the same."

Among those newcomers are O'Regan and O'Connell, both were involved when Cork won the U17 All-Ireland in 2017 but didn't make the cut for the minor panel. O'Regan now has 1-11 from play in two games while O'Connell, superb for Midleton in their run to last October's senior decider, sniped over five points. 

Tommy O'Connell. Picture: Jim Coughlan
Tommy O'Connell. Picture: Jim Coughlan

"Tommy had a few shots against Limerick that didn't drop but we told him to take them on again. He's a shooter, the same as Shane O'Regan.

"Shane is a marked man but his temperament is excellent. It took him about 20 minutes for his first possession but he kept the head." 

Ryan was also delighted for Seán Twomey, another U17 graduate from two years ago, who powered Courcey Rovers to PIHC and U21 Premier 2 finals last season.

"Seán Twomey has been outstanding for Courceys and took his chance. When the game was in the melting pot he stood up."

Daire Connery also hurled up a storm. Wearing the number 12 geansaí, he ended up as a deep-lying midfielder, spraying ball with trademark accuracy.

Daire Connery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Daire Connery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"We moved Daire out to midfield and Tommy to wing-forward because by Daire being so deep we'd let the Clare number six too loose. Daire is a very intelligent hurler, uses it so well and Tommy is just a super player."

The next step on the journey is a clash with Tipp on Tuesday week at Semple Stadium, the winners play the Leinster runners-up in the All-Ireland semi-final, with the losers also progressing to the last four.

Evan Sheehan in action. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Evan Sheehan in action. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"It'll be hammer and tongs. A Munster medal is still special and we can worry about the All-Ireland series after. To go up to Tipp and win would be a massive scalp but I'm sure they feel they owe us from two years ago at minor.

"It's going to be a cracker. There's an All-Ireland semi-final on the August Bank Holiday weekend regardless but we'll go all out to win. The whole competition is run off over about seven weeks and that's ideal for the players.

"Tipp looked very impressive against Waterford. I'm glad we'd a few tough matches and we've a few players in form now. Tipp are a super outfit, great pace up front, three or four of the seniors and 10 of the panel that beat us last year in the U21 All-Ireland final." 

More in this section

Sponsored Content