Cork U20 footballers face Treaty test in championship opener

Limerick await the Rebels at the Gaelic Grounds on Easter Monday for a place in the Munster final
Cork U20 footballers face Treaty test in championship opener

Limerick's Aaron Neville and Cormac Woulfe and Waterford's Alan Dunwoody in action in the Munster U20 championship in Dungarvan. Picture: Patrick Browne

THE U20S will be the first Cork side in Munster Championship action next Monday evening, when they visit Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds in the semi-final at 7pm.

The Shannonsiders swept to a 2-9 to 1-6 victory over Waterford in Dungarvan on Monday, the Deise plundering a late goal to put some gloss on the score line.

The Limerick team included four players from the minor side of last season which reached the provincial final only to find Cork too hot on the night, going down by 1-17 to 0-13, Newcestown’s Hugh O’Connor finishing with 1-7.

Those promoted immediately to the U20 grade for the first of three possible seasons are centre-back Aaron Neville, midfielders Darragh Murray, who captained the minors and helped himself to 0-7, and Emmet Rigter, centre-forward against Cork, and Conal O Duinn in attack.

Limerick and Waterford to had to overcome wretched weather as the visitors led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval, the goal from a penalty mid-way through, tucked away by David O’Shaughnessy.

In worsening conditions in the second-half, Limerick added three points on the resumption to take a firm grip on proceedings and a second goal after 42 minutes ended any doubts about the outcome.

And, interestingly, it featured last year’s minor contingent prominently in the build-up and the finish by Murray, who availed of good approach play by O Duinn and Rigter, for a 2-8 to 0-5 advantage.

The observing Cork management will have noted eight different Limerick scorers on a difficult and with the benefit of a championship game, as well as playing at home, Limerick will be rubbing their hands in anticipation of pulling off a shock result.

The other semi-final is also on Monday evening with Kerry making the long trek to Milltown Malbay to play Clare, who impressed in taking down Tipperary at the same venue, winning by 3-15 to 2-5, having been 3-8 to 1-0 ahead early in the second-half.

In the corresponding minor in 2019, Cork just about got over the line against Clare in round two of the round-robin format, squeezing through by 3-9 to 0-14 before losing to Kerry in the final, but recovering to capture the All-Ireland.

The Banner also had an impressive number of scorers against Tipp, eight in all, and they’ll fancy their chances of making it a competitive game against the Kingdom in their attempts to qualify for a first Munster final in 21 years.

Meanwhile, the origins of the splendid St Finbarr’s complex in Togher are explained in a new book, The Hegartys of the Laurels.

While it’s primarily focused on the family’s involvement in the War of Independence through the roles of John Joe Hegarty and his sisters, Mamie and Nan, there’s a reference to the ’Barr’s.

The fascinating book is written by John Joe’s son, Jim, a lifelong Cork and ’Barr’s follower ‘exiled’ in Dublin, where he runs a very successful insurance business.

It traces the involvement of the family home, the Laurels, in the struggle for independence, where a thriving market garden venture mixed with being an IRA safehouse, a landmine factory and an arms and ammunitions dump.

After the establishment of the Free State, John Joe travelled to New York at the end of the 1920s, where he linked up with his old comrade Conn Neenan.

John Joe intended to stay there permanently, having found work with the Brooklyn Edison Company while Conn hooked up with the Irish Sweepstakes and Waterford Glass.

The pair returned to Cork, though, in the early ’30s, John Joe lured by his father to take over the running of the business and set about establishing a home for the ’Barr’s.

John Joe is credited with sourcing and arranging the acquisition of the land owned by the Manning family, who were close friends of the Hegartys.

And with Conn providing the financial support, the ’Barr’s set in motion plans for the long-term which are visible today with their magnificent complex featuring state-of-the-art facilities inside and outside.

Named Neenan Park, the official opening included a senior hurling match between the ’Barr’s and a New York selection.

John Joe also took a keen interest in the dogs, becoming a lifelong member of the Pouladuff and Bishopstown Coursing Club.

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