Cork 3-20 Tipperary 2-17
A six-point half-time deficit was transformed into a win by the same amount as Cork overcame Tipperary in Semple Stadium on Tuesday evening to reach the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U20HC final.
Trailing by 1-13 to 0-10 at half-time, Cork had been out-hurled, a natural by-product of the fact that the 2020 All-Ireland was only clinched ten days previously and the fact that Tipp had overcome Waterford in their quarter-final.
However, Cork roared into the second half with five straight points to trail by just the minimum and, though Devon Ryan ended the Tipp scoreless run, it was their only point of the third quarter and Cork replied with a pair of goals, from Daniel Hogan and Robbie Cotter, to irrevocably turn the game their way.
Devon Ryan had turned the Waterford game Tipp’s away after coming on as a sub and he would illuminate the first half with eight points, the first of them levelling at 0-2 each. Though Darragh Flynn replied with a Cork free, Tipp hit the front in the sixth minute as midfielder Max Hackett produced a lovely finish to the net.
Further points from Ryan (two) and John Campion opened up a five-point advantage, 1-5 to 0-3 and though a pair of Jack Cahalane points and one from outstanding midfielder Sam Quirke got the Cork scoreboard moving again, it was 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time.
Tipp’s stout defending, characterised by centre-back Kevin Maher, ensured Cork’s attackers were frustrated and the hosts retired with a 1-13 to 0-10 half-time lead that didn’t flatter them. However, the dominance of Hackett and Campion at midfield was upset by an added-time injury to the latter, who didn’t return.
While it would be sensationalist to compare the third-quarter turnaround to that effected by Limerick in the Munster senior final on Sunday, it was nevertheless devastating from Cork, who upped their all-round game considerably.
With the half-back dominant and Joyce, in particular, proving a magnet for the ball, Tipp were overpowered. Hayes and Power had two points each while Cotter got on the scoresheet, the lead cut to 1-13 to 0-15.
After Ryan’s score, Cork head the lead again as Hogan touched home a Brian O’Sullivan sideline. It put them in front by the minimum, the first time since the sixth minute, and that advantage was swelled to four points as Joyce forced a turnover and fed Quirke, whose raking pass found Cotter. He had only one thing on his mind and a deft sidestep gave him space for a great finish.
It meant Cork were 2-15 to 1-14 in front at the water-break and though Tipp improved again in the final stages, Cork subs Ben Cunningham (three) and Conor O’Leary got on the scoresheet while another, Luke Horgan, made the game safe with a smartly taken goal from a tight angle.
Tipp replacement Kyle Shelly did find the net at the death but it only served to reduce the deficit. Cork face Limerick in the decider next week.
R Cotter 1-2, D Hogan 1-1, P Power 0-4, B Hayes, B Cunningham 0-3 each, L Horgan 1-0, D Flynn (f), S Quirke, J Cahalane 0-2 each, C O’Leary 0-1.
D Ryan 0-9 (0-5 f), M Hackett 1-2, K Shelly 1-0, J Campion 0-2, P McGarry, J Leamy, D Stakelum, K O’Kelly 0-1 each.
C Wilson (Newcestown); E Downey (Glen Rovers), D O’Leary (Watergrasshill), C O’Brien (Newtownshandrum); E Twomey (St Finbarr's), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), K Moynihan (Na Piarsaigh); S Quirke (Midleton), B O’Sullivan (Kanturk); D Flynn (Ballygiblin), D Hogan (Sarsfields), B Hayes (St Finbarr's); J Cahalane (St Finbarr's), P Power (Blarney), R Cotter (Blackrock).
B Cunningham (St Finbarr's) for Flynn, L Horgan (Glen Rovers) for Cahalane (both 43), M Mullins (Whitechurch) for Hogan (46), D Kearney (Cobh) for O’Sullivan (53), C O’Leary (Ballincollig) for Hayes (60).
A Browne; F Purcell, K Ryan, C O’Dwyer; C Whelan, K Maher, J Ryan; M Hackett, J Campion; D Stakelum, D Ryan, K O’Kelly; S Hayes, P Creedon, J Devaney.
P McGarry for Campion (30, temporary), J Leahy for Stakelum (45), C Fogarty for Devaney (50), C Hennessey for Whelan (52), K Shelly for McGarry (55) S Phelan for Maher (60, temporary), T Cahill for Creedon (60).
J O’Halloran (Limerick).