THE Cork Schoolboys League team will play South Belfast in the final of the Kennedy Cup after the Leesiders overcame Waterford on the weekend at the RSC Sports Complex.
End to end action dominated the opening stages of the semi-final with Gallilo Erhabor, James Coyne and James O'Brien excelling in defence to deny several Waterford attacks.
The midfield pairing of Evan Cummins and Eoin Howell combined effortlessly to support their defensive team-mates and the duo were flanked by ever present Keelan Kavanagh and Colm Harte.
The likes of Rollie Durango, Aaron Murphy and David Ebo were dangerous on the counter attack but the game remained scoreless nonetheless.
Kian Lane intervened to make a first-rate save after a Waterford corner on the quarter of the hour mark.
The attacking trio of Ebo, Durango and Murphy continued to test Waterford's defence and Cork though they had taken the lead midway through the half only for the linesman to raise his flag to signal for offside.
Cork were starting to get on top and it wasn't long before another delivery from Cummins from a corner found Colm Harte inside the box who slotted it into the net to give Cork a lead on 19 minutes.
The goal did very little to kill Waterford's spirit and despite their best efforts, Lane remained relatively untested between the Cork posts.
With half time fast approaching, Cork won another corner culminating in James O’Brien pouncing in front of goal but again it was ruled out for offside..
Cork excelled via several set pieces, counter attacks, well worked attacks and some individual brilliance in the second half.
Zoran Teodorovic’s side picked up some bookings throughout the second half as a result of breaking up a number of quick Waterford counter attacks.
Waterford won a number of corners and free-kicks but Lane and his defensive team-mates refused to let their opponents break through.
Cork's attacking threat never waned and Aaron Murphy won a penalty for Cork midway through the second half when an impressive solo run culminated in the youngster being pushed to the floor inside the box.
Evan Cummins subsequent penalty was well taken but ultimately saved by the Waterford goalkeeper only for Eoin Howell to double Cork's advantage on the rebound via a deflected effort.
Waterford attacked freely thereafter, throwing everything at Cork and the pressure told with 10 minutes remaining when their number nine found the net with a powerful drive.
Cork introduced Alex Uwumarogie and Dylan O'Rourke in an effort to defend their valuable 2-1 lead and the two players added much needed energy into the Cork attack.
Indeed, Uwumarogie went close with a 20 yard shot that went inches above the bar with just minutes left in the game.
To their credit, Cork held out for the win to book a place in the final of the prestigious Kennedy Cup.
Kian Lane (Mayfield United), Mike Malisa (Passage), James O'Flaherty (College Corinthians), Gallilo Erhabor (Mallow Town), James Coyne (Youghal United), James O'Brien (College Corinthians), Zach Forde (Leeds), Robert O'Leary (Douglas Hall), Keelan Kavanagh (Douglas Hall), Colm Harte (Carrigtwohill United), Eoin Howell (Mallow Town), Evan Cummins (Springfield Ramblers), Kyle Moroney (Carrigaline United), Johnathon McLaughlin (Douglas Hall), Dylan McCarthy (Douglas Hall), Dylan Lyons (Midleton), Jack Barry (Passage), Alex Uwumarogie (Mallow Town), Adam O'Mahony (Lakewood Athletic), Billy Higgins (College Corinthians), Jack Morley (Riverstown), Rollie Durango (Carrigtwohill United), Aaron Murphy (Mallow United), Dylan O'Rourke (Leeds), David Ebo (Midleton).