Cork minors a cut above as Munster title is claimed with win over Waterford

Rebels led by 11 points at half-time and full-time
Cork minors a cut above as Munster title is claimed with win over Waterford

Cork's Mikey Finn scores from a sideline cut in the Electric Ireland Munster MHC final in Thurles on Monday evening. Photo: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Cork 1-26 Waterford 1-15

Cork will compete in three All-Ireland hurling finals in the space of six days later this month following victory over Waterford in Monday night’s Electric Ireland Munster minor decider in Thurles.

After victories over Clare and Limerick, Noel Furlong’s side maintained their momentum and were in control for much of proceedings, set on their way by a goal from Eoin O’Leary after 13 seconds. The young Rebels led by eight points at the first-half water-break and, though a goal from Jack Twomey helped Waterford to come back to within six, Cork retired at half-time with an 11-point advantage. While the levels dropped in the third quarter and Waterford cut the lead, Cork had restored the 11-point gap by the end.

The nature of the draw means that Leinster champions Kilkenny face Galway in the only All-Ireland semi-final while Cork are straight through to the final on Saturday, August 21 – the day before the senior decider against Limerick, while the U20s clash with Galway next Tuesday.

They will progress with confidence but without complacency. Prior to the game, Furlong wanted the team to ensure that there was no resting on laurels and the way Cork started the match showed that they were keyed in. 

After O’Leary gave them the dream start from a ball by the excellent Diarmuid Healy, points followed in quick succession from William Buckley – again operating as a third midfielder – Healy and Jack Leahy.

While Waterford did have three of the next four points, captain Patrick Fitzgerald landing two frees, it was only brief respite as Cork found their groove with five on the trot, a sideline cut from Mikey Finn the pick of them.

However, in the 17th minute, Cork did need goalkeeper Paudie O’Sullivan to be alert as Waterford weaved a good move together, with Billy O’Connell, Jack Twomey and Jack O’Donnell combined to give Peter Cummins a chance, but his shot was saved.

Fitzgerald sent the resultant 65 over the bar and then, after the water-break, Cummins had another half-chance but he was crowded out by the stern Cork defence – where man of the match Daragh O’Sullivan outstanding throughout – and the ball drifting wide.

After Leahy’s fourth point of the night, Waterford did find the net, though. From a delivery by Seánie Callaghan, Twomey showed great control out on the left and then used his strength to work inwards from the left before crashing home a magnificent shot from a tight angle.

That made it 1-10 to 1-4 but, after Leahy and Twomey exchanged points, Cork necklaced together six in a row, with Healy and Cillian Tobin both to the fore.

By half-time, Cork were 1-17 to 1-6 in front, and while Timmy Wilk had two points after moving to midfield, they were sloppier in the third quarter and frees from the influential Fitzgerald allowed Waterford to edge closer. Nevertheless, Cork still led by nine, 1-21 to 1-12, at the break, with goalkeeper O’Sullivan again doing well just before the stoppage. After taking down a Liam Ó Siothcháin point attempt, he had to clear swiftly to deny Sam Pender but kept his composure.

Two points from Leahy settled Cork again after the action resumed and in the closing stages he was back to the form he had shown in the earlier games.

O’Leary might have finished the game as he started it, scoring a goal, but he was denied by Waterford’s Cian Troy. Nevertheless, with points from the ever-impressive Buckley and sub Adam Walsh, Cork kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Scorers for Cork: J Leahy 0-11 (0-7f, 0-1 65), E O’Leary 1-2, W Buckley 0-4, D Healy, M Finn (0-1 sideline), T Wilk 0-2 each, C Tobin, B Nyhan, A Walsh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: P Fitzgerald 0-8 (0-7f, 0-1 65), J Twomey 1-4, P Cummins 0-2, B O’Connell 0-1.

CORK: P O’Sullivan (Fr O’Neills); D O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig), K Lyons (Ballygarvan), J Byrne (Ballinora); J Dwyer (Ballincollig), B O’Connor (St Finbarr’s), T Wilk (Cobh); M Finn (Midleton), C Tobin (Bride Rovers); D Healy (Lisgoold), B Nyhan (Clyda Rovers), T O’Connell (Ballincollig); E O’Leary (Glen Rovers), J Leahy (Dungourney), W Buckley (St Finbarr’s).

Subs: A Walsh (Bride Rovers) for Nyhan (6-7, temporary), D Cremin (Midleton) for O’Connell (22, injured), Walsh for Nyhan (half-time), R Sheahan (Kanturk) for Dwyer (50), R O’Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh) for Buckley (56), O O’Regan (Erin’s Own) for Leahy (58).

WATERFORD: C Troy; C Keane, C O’Keeffe, R Dobbyn; B O’Connell, C Treen, A O’Neill; S Callaghan, F Hallinan; L Ó Siothcháin, J O’Donnell, M Ó Mathúna; P Fitzgerald, J Twomey, P Cummins.

Subs: A Higgins for Keane (half-time), S Pender for Ó Mathúna (39), M O’Brien for Callaghan (41-47, temporary), D Walsh for O’Connell (53), H Flanagan for O’Keeffe (60).

Referee: J O’Halloran (Limerick).

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