Cork minor footballers ended a long wait with dazzling defeat of Kerry

Rebels beat their rivals in a Munster minor final for the first time since 2010 and hadn't retained the provincial crown for 22 years
Cork minor footballers ended a long wait with dazzling defeat of Kerry

Alan O'Connell after scoring the third goal in the Electric Ireland Munster GAA Minor win over Kerry. Picture: George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile

WHAT an incredible Munster football final display by Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn.

After a 14-point drubbing in the first round against Kerry, Michael O'Brien and his selectors shuffled the deck, beat Tipp stylishly to set up a rematch with their rivals, and were then in clinical form on Wednesday night to the delight of the home support. They scored 3-11 to Kerry's 0-9 and only had one wide in the process.

It was the Rebels' first win in a Munster final over Kerry since 2010, as last year's victory was in the provincial semi-final. The result also meant Cork retained the Munster minor football crown for the first time since 2000. 

Though the All-Ireland was lifted four years ago, Cork have struggled in the province in the modern era. Since 1990, Kerry have won a staggering 19 Munster minors to Cork's 10 ('91-'93, '99, 2000, '05, '07, '10, '21, 22), with three for Tipp.  

Cork manager Michael O'Brien celebrates with Brian Hayes. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cork manager Michael O'Brien celebrates with Brian Hayes. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The Munster series itself is highly flawed of course; Kerry's reward for beating Cork last month was an away Munster final against a team that had a game in between to reboot after that opening setback. The Kingdom only got two matches in the province, where every other county got three and in the case of Tipperary, who emerged from a round-robin with Clare, Limerick and Waterford, four.

The one consolation is, unlike last season when it was straight knockout, Kerry have a shot at redemption against Ulster champions Tyrone. Remember, Cork came through the backdoor to capture the 2019 minor All-Ireland.

After winning Munster in 2021, Cork were blitzed by Tyrone. That will ensure Michael O'Brien has his players fully tuned in for Saturday week's All-Ireland quarter-final with Derry.

LAST SUCCESSIVE MUNSTER MINOR TITLES:

There was no shortage of talent in the Cork minor football panels of 1999 and 2000, landing back-to-back provincial crowns and then the All-Ireland in 2000, with Teddy Holland at the helm.

1999: Cork 2-16 Kerry 1-8 

Paddy O'Shea, current Cork goalkeeping coach, was the captain after St Vincent's won the 1998 P1 minor county. Noel Furlong, Cork senior hurling selector, was full-back in a team that also included former Cork hurling stars Ronan Curran and Tom Kenny.

O'Shea, Noel O'Leary, David Niblock, Conor McCarthy, Robert O'Mahony, Bernie Collins and Conrad Murphy also went on to senior level while Damien Delaney enjoyed a hugely successful soccer career, most notably with Crystal Palace.

CORK: Paddy O’Shea (c); Noel O’Leary, Noel Furlong, Finbarr Crowley; Donal O’Sullivan, Ronan Curran, Tom Kenny; Damien Delaney, David Niblock; John Flavin, Conor McCarthy, Paudie Hurley; Robert O’Mahony, Bernard Collins, Conor Brosnan.

Sub: Conrad Murphy. 

Paddy O'Shea and the Cork minor footballers celebrate their impressive win over Kerry in the 1999 Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger
Paddy O'Shea and the Cork minor footballers celebrate their impressive win over Kerry in the 1999 Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger

2000: Cork 1-13 Kerry 0-14 

There was no shortage of fine footballers involved the following season, with Noel O'Leary underage again and James Masters and Kevin MacMahon featuring prominently at senior level after. Kieran 'Hero' Murphy focused on hurling after.

Cork beat a Mayo team with Alan Dillon and Conor Mortimer in the All-Ireland final, Mark O'Connor and Conor Brosnan the goalscorers with Conrad Murphy rifling over 0-5. Murphy was a sublime playmaking centre-forward who struggled with injuries.

CORK: Kevin Murphy; Noel O’Donovan, Ray Cahalane, Brian O’Regan; Noel O’Leary, Eddie Bourke, Paul McCarthy; Kieran Murphy, Garry McLoughlin; John Collins, Conrad Murphy, Conor Brosnan; James Masters (c), Kevin MacMahon, David Burns.

Subs: Paul Deane, Denis O’Hare, Mark O’Connor, Barry Hegarty, Declan Barron Junior.

LAST MUNSTER MINOR FINAL WIN OVER KERRY: 

2010: Cork 1-8 Kerry 1-7 

BRIAN Hurley was the driving force of the Rebels' defeat of their rivals in Killarney in 2010, hitting 1-6 of Cork's 1-8, including the late goal to snatch the cup. 

Brian Hurley celebrates the 2010 win over Kerry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Brian Hurley celebrates the 2010 win over Kerry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Castlehaven's Damien Cahalane also gave a standout display in the full-back line and there was a lot of talent in that team, including Tom Clancy, Jamie Wall, John O'Rourke, Mark Sugrue and Nemo's Alan Cronin junior and Kevin Fulignati.

Cork, under the management of Brian Cuthbert, made the All-Ireland final, where they were beaten by Tyrone in a classic clash.

The on-the-age minors from 2010 turn 30 this year but O'Rourke and Hurley remain key members of the Cork senior football squad while Cahalane has been in top form for the hurlers recently.

Kerry's best-known player from the starting 15 in that Munster decider was Gavan O'Grady but subs Tadhg Morley and Conor Cox, in Roscommon colours, are still playing senior inter-county.

George Durrant was at midfield for Kerry but transferred to Ballincollig when he was living in Cork and picked up a county title in 2014. The Collig manager was current Cork minor boss Michael O'Brien and Durrant was Man of the Match in the county final win over Carbery Rangers.

CORK: David Hanrahan; Kevin Fulignati, Damien Cahalane, Darren Murphy; Sean Ryan, Tom Clancy, Jamie Wall; Jamie Burns, John O’Rourke; Kevin Hallissey, Mark Sugrue, Alan Cronin; Kevin Sheehan, Shane Duggan, Brian Hurley. 

Subs: Daniel Fitzgerald (c) for S Ryan (45), Dan MacEoin for M Sugrue, Stephen O’Mahony for Duggan (50).

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