Can Cork's junior footballers end Kerry’s run?

Can Cork's junior footballers end Kerry’s run?

Michael O’Leary of Cork in action against Darren Guiry of Waterford. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

IT'S the turn of the Cork junior footballers to try and put a stop to Kerry's gallop in a season in which the Kingdom are on course for a clean sweep.

They've already scooped up wins at U21, minor and U17 levels and are fancied to retain their Munster junior crown, when the great rivals square-up at Páirc Uí Rinn this evening at 7.30pm.

Cork are aiming to capture their 30th title and their first since 2013, when they defeated Waterford by 1-18 to 0-9 in the final and later went on to claim the All-Ireland under the captaincy of current senior, Ruairí Deane.

Tipperary overcame Kerry in round one only to slip up against Waterford, who, in turn, were no match for a Cork side, which included the O'Driscoll brothers, Kevin and Colm.

Kerry, though, have won the last three provincial titles, bagging a couple of All-Irelands as well, and the manner of their 0-26 to 0-8 semi-final victory over Limerick reflects the challenge facing Cork.

Last season's edition produced a tight finish, Kerry just scraping through by 0-14 to 0-13, but there was no disputing who bossed the other games, Kerry winning by 1-20 to 0-11 in 2015 and by 3-14 to 0-13 the year before.

Cork are managed by Paul McCarthy, coached by Steve Calnan with John Geaney, Pat Mackey and Alan Whelan the selectors.

They opened tentatively enough against Waterford, but produced a much improved second-half display to run-out comprehensive 3-21 to 0-9 winners.

The full-forward line of Eoghan Buckley (St Michael's), Seamus Hickey (Rockchapel) and Anthony O'Connor (Knocknagree) contributed 2-13 between them with Mallow's Ryan Harkin and Kilshannig's Killian O'Hanlon also featuring prominently.

The team had strong links to the U21 side, which lost to Mayo in last year's All-Ireland final, containing goalkeeper Anthony Casey (Kiskeam), corner-back Kieran Histon (Cobh), midfielder Ronan O'Toole (Éire Óg) and forwards Harkin and Don O'Driscoll (Clann na nGael).

Kerry named an unchanged 15 from the Limerick game, when they had 11 different scorers, including Conor Cox, who top-scored with 0-6 and Killian Spillane on 0-4.

Meanwhile, the county U21 football championship continues this evening with the meeting of St Michael's and Clonakilty in the first round in Brinny at 7.30.

The pair are looking for a quarter-final place to join Douglas, Beara, Valley Rovers and Cill na Martra.

St Michael's reached the city final, where they lost to St Finbarr's by 1-10 to 0-9 after defeating Bishopstown by 4-16 to 1-6 in the semi-final.

Liam O'Sullivan and Tadhg Deasy caught the eye up front while Daniel Meaney and John Cashman impressed at the back.

Clon played three times in the Carbery championship. They overcame O'Donovan Rossa by 1-12 to 2-6 in the first round before overpowering Ahane Gaels by 4-13 to 0-2 only to lose to the eventual champions Dohenys in the semi-finals.

Tiernan O'Connell, Liam O'Donovan, Mark White and David Lowney were key figures for Clon.

The competition continues tomorrow evening with Aghada taking on Kilmurry in Ballygarvan and Carrigaline facing Mallow in Blarney, both at 7.30 with extra-time to be played if required.

Lady luck certainly didn't smile on Tipperary footballers after last season's All-Ireland semi-finalists were paired to play Cavan away in the first round of the qualifiers.

It's a difficult tie for Liam Kearns's charges, who lost to Cork by 1-10 to 1-9 in the Munster semi-final, when they had star forward Michael Quinlivan stretchered off with an ankle injury, which will rule him out of Saturday week's tie.

On the plus side, though, Jack Kennedy is expected to return from the hamstring injury, which forced him to miss the Cork game and his presence around midfield would certainly bolster Tipp's prospects.

Cavan lost their division one status and join Tipp in the second division next season. Monaghan defeated them in Ulster.

More in this section

Sponsored Content