Cork 2-29 Limerick 0-21
AN extra-time scoring blitz helped Cork progress to the Bord Gais Energy U20 Munster Hurling final seeing off a spirited, dogged and talented Limerick side at The LIT Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening.
A first-half goal from Shane Barrett looked to have set the tone for the victory as Cork kept their opponents at bay for long periods however a late second-half revival brought Limerick back into the frame.
Cork senior stars Shane Barrett, Sean Twomey and Dáire Connery were available for selection on the day and Pat Ryan was quick to use the trio in what was an impressive starting 15.
At the back, Eoin Roche was solid, as was his corner-backs Conor O’Callaghan (the captain) and Aaron Walsh Barry.
Cork showed their intent early on and were first out of the blocks with a point from Brian Roche but Limerick had a great chance to goal in the third minute however both Cathal Downes and Cathal O’Neill failed to punish the boys in red.
Roche added Cork’s third soon after showing some silky skills with O’Connell pushing the victors four in front with a 50m free on the stroke of 10 minutes.
Limerick finally got off the mark on 14 minutes with a free from Dylan O’Shea which was followed swiftly by a brilliant score from O’Neill on the stroke of the water break.
Limerick brought the gap down to the minimum soon after with a classy score from O’Shea however Cork hit back with a goal of the highest quality as Connolly and Roche linked up well to set Barrett loose and the hugely talented attacker made no mistake almost bursting the net from distance.
Connery added to the Limerick pain with a long-range free on 28 minutes which sent his side in at the break leading by a half dozen (1-7 to 0-4).
Limerick were first from the blocks in the second period with four points in four minutes dragging this one back to just two between the sides. Bryan Nix, Josh Considine, Cormac Ryan and O’Neill all scored as Cork laboured and Limerick shone.
Barrett eased the discomfort on 36 minutes with a classy score but Limerick continued to dominate in large sections of the pitch until cork got a handle on the Limerick attack.
Cork stayed clear and looked sure of the win late on but credit to Limerick, they battled back and thanks to the sharpshooting of O’Connor with four late frees this one went to extra time.
O’Connor and Connery traded frees at the start of extra time before a trio of wonderful Colin O’Brien side-line cuts had Cork back in front and on the way to victory.
Brian Hayes, Connolly and O’Brien added to Limerick’s woes with Hayes adding a goal late on to send Cork through to play the winners of Tipperary and Waterford in the showpiece game.
Scorers for Cork: B Hayes 1-4, S Barrett 1-3, A Connolly 0-6 (0-4 f), C O’Brien 0-5 (0-3 sl), D Connery 0-4 f, B Roche, T O’Connell (0-1 f), S O’Regan 0-2 each, B O’Sullivan 0-1 f.
Limerick: A O’Connor 0-8 (0-7 f), C O’Neill 0-5, C Ryan 0-3 f, D O’Shea 0-2 (0-1 f), J Considine, B Nix, M McCarthy 0-1 each.
CORK: E Davis (St Catherine’s); C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe), E Roche (Bride Rovers), A Walsh Barry (Carrigtwohill); D Connery (Na Piarsaigh), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), D O’Leary (Watergrasshill); S Quirke (Midleton), T O’Connell (Midleton); E Carey (Kilworth), S Twomey (Courcey Rovers), B Roche (Bride Rovers); S Barrett (Blarney), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), A Connolly (Blackrock).
Subs: B O’Sullivan (Kanturk) for Twomey (h-t); B Hayes (St Finbarr’s) for Carey (45); P Power (Blarney) for Cahalane (47); D Flynn (Ballygiblin) for O’Connell (48); S O’Regan (Watergrasshill) for Quirke (52); C O’Brien (Liscarroll/Churchtown) for B Roche (60); C O’Brien (Newtownshandrum) for Joyce (88); F Denny (Ballincollig) for O’Callaghan (79).
LIMERICK: J Gillane (Patrickswell); J Quilty (Blackrock), B O’Grady (Kilteely/Dromkeen), B Herlihy (Castletown/Ballyagran); M Quinlan (Garryspillane), C Ryan (Doon), C Coughlan (Ballybrown); K Bonnar (Bruff), J Considine (Patrickswell); C Downes (Kildimo Pallaskenry), D O’Shea (Garryspillane), J Ryan (Doon); A O’Connor (Ballybrown), C O’Neill (Crecora Manister), B Nix (Newcastlewest).
Subs: M Keane (Adare) for Bonnar (HT); S Long (Na Piarsaigh) for O’Shea, M McCarthy (Templeglantine) for J Ryan (both 46); D O’Leary (Bruff) for Downey (52); C Carroll (Patrickswell) for Considine (60); J Considine (Patrickswell) for Quinlan (70); B Purcell (Doon) (70); J Nicholas (Monaleen) for O’Connor (75).
Referee: R McGann (Clare).