Kerry reel in battling Cork minors after extra-time thriller in Tralee

Kerry reel in battling Cork minors after extra-time thriller in Tralee

Cork’s Aaron Sheehy kicks a last-minute point to send the game to extra time. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Kerry 0-21 Cork 1-15 (after extra-time)

KERRY dislodged Cork as All-Ireland minor football champions after another epic encounter in a cracking Munster semi-final in Tralee last night.

The home side, the defending provincial champions, finished strongly in the additional 20 minutes after Cork squandered late chances near the end of normal time.

The rivals still couldn't be separated after the opening period of extra-time, when Cork played with the strengthening wind as rain fell.

Substitute Ciaran McCarthy landed a free for Cork with the returning Conor Hanlon doing likewise as Cian McMahon underlined his value to Kerry with two frees, 1-14 to 0-17, at the change of ends.

But, there was no disputing the better side in the second period, though, as substitute Darragh O'Sullivan kicked four points in-a-row after Jordan Kissane nudged Kerry 0-18 to 1-14 ahead.

Kerry’s Cian O’Donoghue and Conor Hanlon of Cork. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Kerry’s Cian O’Donoghue and Conor Hanlon of Cork. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Cork lost substitute Sean Gore to a black card and while they kept battling right to the end a late point from Colin Walsh, one of Cork's best players on the night, wasn't enough to stop the Kerry juggernaut.

Cork needed substitute Aaron Sheehy to force extra-time, when he nailed an equaliser in the closing act, five minutes into added-on time.

Kerry had dominated the closing 10 minutes, scoring five points without reply with Cian McMahon accurate from frees and open play, helping them move 0-15 to 1-11 in front.

Cork's prospects soared within four minutes of the resumption in normal time with a cracking goal to race into a five-point lead, 1-9 to 0-7.

Wing-back Richard O'Sullivan delivered an ideal pass into Colin Walsh, who quickly off-loaded to Hanlon, who fired an unstoppable beyond Kerry keeper Sean Broderick.

The goal, though, only prompted the provincial champions to find a higher gear as they mopped up breaking ball around the middle and that possession yielded three points, leaving Cork 1-10 to 0-10 in front at the second water-break.

In the original first half, a flurry of four important points in as many minutes helped Cork to a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage at the water break.

Hanlon's opening score after four minutes reflected the quality of finisher in the visitors' attack, a point further emphasised by Sean Brady's score to kick-start a productive spell.

Nash was emerging as an influence around the middle, helping Hanlon to a couple of frees with Hugh O'Connor sandwiching a beauty in between.

Cork’s Shane Kingston celebrates winning a free. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork’s Shane Kingston celebrates winning a free. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Colin Walsh took over the scoring responsibilities after the water-break but the concession of frees kept the home side in touch.

A turn over helped the dual Kanturk player nudge Cork 0-6 to 0-3 in front by the 18th minute and a couple in quick succession, including a spectacular 'mark', made it 0-8 to 0-4 before Kerry rallied.

Two Ruairí Burns's frees made it a two-point game before Walsh had the final say in injury-time time with a fisted score for 0-9 to 0-6 at the interval.

Cork were grateful to keeper Callum Dungan saving with his feet to deny Cian McMahon in the only clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity, early in the half.

Scorers for Kerry: C McMahon 0-8 (0-6 f), D O'Sullivan 0-4 (0-3 f, 0-1 mark), L Shine 0-3 (0-2 f), R Burns 0-3 (0-2 f), O Maunsell, T O'Donnell and J Kissane 0-1 each

Cork: C Hanlon 1-5 (0-4 f), C Walsh 0-6 (0-1 mark), S Brady, H O'Connor, A Sheehy 0-1 each, C McCarthy 0-1 f.

KERRY: S Broderick; C O'Donoghue, J Nagle, D O'Callaghan; P O'Leary, A Heinrich, C Horan; O Maunsell, captain, C O Conaill; K Evans, W Shine, T O'Donnell; C McMahon, A O'Shea, R Burns: 

Subs: C Burke for Horan half-time; D O'Sullivan for O'Shea 39, M O'Connell for Burns 48, J Kissane for Shine 51, J McElligott for O'Leary 52.

CORK: C Dungan ( Carrigaline); F Walsh (Argideen Rangers), L McCarthy (Castlehaven), D Murray (Glanmire); R O’Sullivan (Newcestown), T Walsh (Kanturk), S Brady (Ballygarvan); E Nash ( Douglas), captain, S Kingston (Ballinora); F Finner (Castletownbere), C Walsh (Kanturk), L O’Connell (Ballincollig); H O’Connor (Newmarket), C Hanlon (Buttevant), S Walsh (Argideen Rangers). 

Subs: A Sheehy (Douglas) for S Walsh 37, T Cronin (Naomh Aban) for O'Connor 51, J O'Driscoll (Valley Rovers) for O'Sullivan 54, C McCarthy (Valley Rovers) for Hanlon 57, S Dore (Ballincollg) for Kingston 59, R Barrow (Ballinora) for Murray extra-time, Hanlon for Finner 69, S O'Callaghan (Liscarroll) for Brady 70, O'Sullivan for Cronin 74.

Referee: C Maguire (Clare).

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