Cork 4-12 Mayo 1-13
CORK'S football incredible resurgence continued with a stunning victory over Mayo at Croke Park.
The Rebels were the better team from the throw-in at Jones Road where the significant support for the Connacht champions, who were the warm-up act for Mayo-Dublin in the senior semi-final, was never a factor.
Their reward is Cork's first appearance in a minor decider since 2010, when a Brian Hurley-led unit were pipped by Tyrone, chasing a first title since 2000 when James Masters was captain.
It adds to the feelgood factor on Leeside after the amazing nine-point comeback in the U20 All-Ireland final against Dublin the weekend before, as well as the seniors' qualification for the Super 8s. Considering Cork football was at a nadir after relegation from Division 2 in the spring, that's some going.
Cork got an early goal through Patrick Campbell, the official Man of the Match, and should have had more in the first quarter. Ultimately they sealed the deal with a second-half goal blitz courtesy of the outstanding Conor Corbett and centre-back Daniel Linehan who burst through from 35 metres and finished with aplomb.
Bobbie O'Dwyer's charges were too slick in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan and it was the same here, though there was only two points in it before the avalanche of goals and Joseph O'Shea made a crucial goal-denying tackle in the 36th minute.
It's been an incredible turnaround for a gifted crop of players, who were highly regarded when they were U16s at tournament level but were torched 3-19 to 1-9 in the Munster minor opener back in May.
They recovered from that disappointment to beat Clare in Ennis and under the new provincial format had another shot at Kerry in the Munster final. That thrilled in Páirc Uí Chaoimh ended 3-14 to 2-14 in the Kingdom's favour with the feeling there was more to come from Cork.
That's exactly how it turned out, with a possible rematch with Kerry on the cards, if they beat Galway in Sunday's semi-final on Jones Road. It has helped that the whole panel are fully fit and firing after a series of injuries undermined them early in the season.
They were impressive at midfield here, through Jack Lawton and Eoghan Nash, while Hugh Murphy, whose brother Jack won an U20 All-Ireland, nabbed two points from wing-forward.
As a unit the defence was excellent, considering Mayo torched Dublin for five goals in the semi-final, with Daniel Peet, Darragh Cashman and Kealan Scannell handling a pile of possession.
With Nemo dynamo Campbell an energetic presence as the fulcrum of the attack, Cork benefited from having a dangerous inside trio of Corbett, Michael O'Neill and Jack Cahalane, who also featured this season for the minor hurlers.Cork players in top form after. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Selectors James McCarthy and Ollie Rue O'Sullivan celebrate, with Ollie's son Shane. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Scorers for Cork: C Corbett 2-3, P Campbell 1-2, D Linehan 1-0, M O'Neill (0-1 f), H Murphy, R O'Donovan 0-2 each, J Cahalane 0-1.
Mayo: P Heneghan 0-4, N Feeney 1-0, E Henry 0-3 f, F Irwin 0-2, C Mylett (f), J Grady (f), O McHale, S Dempsey 0-1 each.
CORK: C O'Leary; J O'Shea, D Peet, N Lordan; K Scannell, D Linehan, D Cashman; J Lawton, E Nash; H Murphy, P Campbell, A Walsh Murphy; M O'Neill, C Corbett, J Cahalane.
Subs: S Andrews for O'Shea 41, R O'Donovan for O'Neill 41, K O'Driscoll for Campbell 50 (inj), L Murphy for Walsh Murphy 55, A Aherne for H Murphy 58, A O'Hare for Cahalane 61.
MAYO: L Jennings; O Tunney, O McHale, A Morrison; S Dempsey, R Keane, E Gilraine; E Henry, M Tighe; A Cosgrove, P Heneghan, D Thornton; C Mylett, F Irwin, P Walsh.
Subs: R Morrin for Mylett 36, J Grady for Dempsey 45, R Walsh for Cosgrove 51, R Hughes for Tunny 57, C Boland for Gilraine 61, N Feeney for Walsh 61.
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).