Cork stun Kerry to retain Munster minor football title in brilliant style winning by 11 points

The champions lost by 14 points to the same opponents three weeks ago but reversed it to retain crown in super style
Cork stun Kerry to retain Munster minor football title in brilliant style winning by 11 points

Cork vs Kerry

Cork 3-11 

Kerry 0-9 

CORK completed an astonishing 25-point turnaround to retain their Munster MFC title at Pairc Ui Rinn on Wednesday evening.

Three weeks ago they lost to Kerry by 14 points, but they tore the formbook to shreds with a brilliant display.

Despite conceding the opening score after just 20 seconds, Cork settled into their task immediately.

The sides were level three times in the opening 10 minutes with all the points coming from play and were top quality, too.

Then, Cork took a firm grip on proceedings as they pounced for 1-6 without response in a devastating 11-minute burst as Kerry endured 17 scoreless minutes.

Hayes started the sequence with a super free bordering the right touchline and he added two more for 0-6 to 0-3 after 18 minutes before captain Colm Gillespie kicked a thunderous point from distance straight away.

Dynamic wing-back Darragh O’Donovan stretched the advantage with a mighty point and then Cork got a break which led to the critical goal after 25 minutes.

The Cork Squad before the Electric Ireland Munster GAA Minor Football Championship Final match between Kerry and Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn in Cork. Photo by George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile
The Cork Squad before the Electric Ireland Munster GAA Minor Football Championship Final match between Kerry and Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn in Cork. Photo by George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile

Gillespie’s long-range attempt struck the upright high up and the rebound was gathered by the tenacious Brian Hayes, who tucked away his effort with the utmost confidence.

Cork had to pinch themselves at 1-8 to 0-3 in front as Kerry eventually broke their duck with a Darren Allman score three minutes from the interval, though Olan O’Donovan cancelled it out to help Cork lead by 1-9 to 0-5 at half-time.

It was a world away from the corresponding game in Tralee with Kerry now forced to dig deep, facing a seven-point deficit on the resumption.

And it didn’t begin much better in the second-half as Kerry lost centre-back Darragh O’Connor to a straight red card after an off-camera clash with Gillespie.

A couple of pointed frees cut the margin to six points, but Cork put the game to bed in spectacular fashion, slicing the visitors’ defence to shreds to smack in two brilliant goals in quick succession.

The first came at the start of the fourth quarter and what a stunner it was, the outstanding Alan O’Connor showing great pace and control to unleash an unstoppable shot to the net for 2-10 to 0-7.

Cork vs Kerry
Cork vs Kerry

And within a minute Cork tore through for a third goal. The industrious Gearoid Kearney did the spadework for Hayes to claim his second with another decisive finish en route to a 30th title.

Scorers for Cork: B Hayes 2-3, 2f, A O’Connell 1-2, E Myers 0-2, 1f, C Gillespie 0-2, D O’Donovan, O O’Donovan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: C Dillon 0-3f, J O’Sullivan, P Lane, D O’Sullivan, D Allman, D O’Connor 0-1 each, I O’Sullivan 0-1f.

CORK: J Woods (Valley Rovers); M O’Sullivan (Bantry Blues), C Molloy (Nemo Rangers), T O’Brien (do); D O’Donovan (Bishopstown), G Daly (Mallow), A Cullinane (Clonakilty); C Geary (Kilshannig), M Kelleher (Mallow), E Myers (Naomh Aban), A O’Connell (Kilshannig); B Hayes (Nemo Rangers), G Kearney (Kinsale), O O’Donovan (Ibane Gaels).

Subs: K McCarthy (Carrigaline) for O’Brien injured 38, N O’Leary (Douglas) for Geary and A O’Sullivan (Aghabullogue) for Kelleher 45, J Burke (Douglas) for Cullinane 50, B O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for O O’Donovan 54.

KERRY: S O’Meara; M Lynch, L Evans, J Foley; E Healy, D O’Connor, F Murphy; J O’Sullivan, T Ashe; N Collins, C Dillon, J Clifford; P Lane, D O’Sullivan, D Allman.

Subs: I O’Sullivan for Allman half-time, D O’Connor for Ashe 40, E Boyle for Lane 50, P Moynihan for O’Sullivan and J Burke for Clifford 57.

Referee: N Quinn (Clare).

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