Gutsy Cork U20 footballers survive red card to pip Kerry in a thriller

High drama and six goals in Páirc Uí Chaoimh as Ciaran O'Sullivan kicked the winning point
Gutsy Cork U20 footballers survive red card to pip Kerry in a thriller

Cork players from left Darragh Cashman, Gavin Creedon, Neil Lordan and Conor McGoldrick celebrate after the EirGrid Munster U20 football win over Kerry in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Cork 3-12 Kerry 3-11 

SUPER sub Ciaran O'Sullivan punched over a dramatic winning point in fourth minute of injury-time as Cork stripped Kerry of their Munster U20 football title following a rivetting semi-final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Thursday.

And Cork did it with 14 men for the closing quarter-hour after corner-back Conor O'Donovan saw yellow for the second time for a foul on Paul O'Shea, who converted the resulting penalty.

It brought the holders back into the contest, trailing by 3-8 to 2-8 and the same player added two more points as the game moved to stoppage time.

Kerry sub Sean Quilter equalised with a free and with extra-time looming until Cork had other ideas as captain Brian Hayes caught the resulting kick-out superbly and a brilliant move ended with O'Sullivan's winner.

O'Shea missed a great chance in the closing act but shot wide from a favourable position and the final whistle prompted great scenes.

The third quarter showed Cork at their brilliant best as they improved on their one-point interval advantage out to outscore their rivals by 1-4 to 0-2 for a 3-11 to 2-8 advantage at the water-break.

The magnificent Conor Corbett pounced for the goal after 45 minutes following a quickly taken free by Jack Cahalane to David Buckley, who supplied the telling pass.

Kerry, who won the corresponding minor game three years ago by a point, included nine All-Ireland minor winners in their team with Cork parading four.

Evan Cooke of Cork in action against Darragh Lyne of Kerry. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Evan Cooke of Cork in action against Darragh Lyne of Kerry. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

In the first half, both sides had early goal-scoring chances, but couldn't capitalise until Kerry struck just before the water break.

Initially, Cork's Colin Walsh reacted quickest to a Conor Corbett free rebounding from an upright in the seventh minute, but his weak shot was easily saved by keeper Marc Kelleher.

Moments later Conor Hayes set up Dylan Geaney, but his shot thundered off the post-the third time it happened so early in the game.

But, then Kerry opened up the home defence as midfielder Darragh Lyne stretched his long legs before finishing impressively with a low shot beyond keeper Gavin Creedon for a 1-3 to 0-4 lead.

It was somewhat against the run of play after Cork had begun brightly and led by 0-4 to 0-2 by the 12th minute with Corbett firing over from close range for the third point.

And while Geaney made it a goal-game with a free immediately on the resumption, Cork restored parity with a brilliant goal in the 20th minute, having hit a post for a third time, too.

Brian Hayes made the initial incision before passing to Corbett, who made inroads on the Kerry goal before parting to Jack Cahalane who scored with aplomb for 1-4 apiece.

Conor Corbett of Cork shoots to score his side's second goal. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Conor Corbett of Cork shoots to score his side's second goal. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Cork's joy was short-lived, however, because the Kerry threat up front again became evident as Geaney prospered on this occasion with their second goal, 2-4 to 1-4 after 23 minutes.

Cork, though, refused to buckle and fought their way back to lead by 2-7 to 2-6 at the break after Corbett unleashed a rocket for a goal-of-the-season contender in stoppage time.

Cahalane supplied the telling pass on this occasion and there was simply no saving Corbett's thunderbolt which flew past Kelleher to bring a breathless opening period to an end.

The second was even more exciting with Diarmaid Phelan, Corbett, Hayes, Cahalane and Buckley heroic for defiant Cork.

Scorers for Cork: C Corbett 2-4 (0-2 f), C Cahalane 1-0, D Buckley 0-3, C Walsh, A Walsh-Murphy, C O'Hanlon, C O'Sullivan 0-1 each, D Dorgan 0-1 f.

Kerry: D Geaney 1-4 (0-4 f), P O'Shea 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2 f), D Lyne 1-0, S Quilter 0-2 f, K Falvey, C Hayes, R Begley 0-1 each.

CORK: G Creedon (Kilshannig); C O'Donovan (Newcestown), D Phelan (Aghada), C McGoldrick (Éire Óg); A Walsh-Murphy (Valley Rovers), T Walsh (Kanturk), D Cashman (Millstreet); B Hayes (St Finbarr's), captain, E Cooke (Ballincollig); C Corbett (Clyda Rovers), J Cahalane (Castlehaven), N Hartnett (Douglas); D Dorgan (Ballincollig), C Walsh (Kanturk), D Buckley (Newcestown). 

Subs: C O'Hanlon (Buttevant) for C Walsh 30, S O'Sullivan (Adrigole) for O'Hanlon injured 40, E Nash (Douglas) for Dorgan 55, N Lordan (Ballinora) for Phelan injured 56, C O'Sullivan (Kilshannig) for Cooke 60.

KERRY: M Kelliher; C Moriarty, J McCarthy, O Fitzgerald; D Murphy, E O'Sullivan, E Clifford; D Lyne, S O'Brien, captain; T Doyle, D Geaney, K Falvey; C Hayes, P O'Shea, R Ó Beaglaoich. 

Subs: J Kennelly for Doyle and S Quilter for Hayes 39, A Dineen for Moriarty 46, P D'Arcy for Falvey 50, P Walsh for Ó Beaglaoich 59.

Referee: J Hayes (Limerick).

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