CORK U20 footballers started the John Kerins Cup with a draw following an exciting game against Laois at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening.
Bobbie O’Dwyer’s charges had to play the final five minutes with 14 players, following a Richard O’Sullivan black card, and the Rebels required a late point to level the game.
This opening match in the annual pre-season tournament was a good workout for Cork all geared towards the championship semi-final against either Limerick or Waterford on Monday, April 17.
Cork, who last won this competition back in 2020, made a bright start with a goal inside 22 seconds, as Olan Corcoran finished well from close-range. Laois replied with a score of their own a minute later, David Costello set up Cathal Lee for a fine point.
Corcorcan finished off a neat team move to land a long-range effort, but in a low scoring first-half with both sides deploying a sweeper in their defence, the sides traded frees as Cork led 1-2 to 0-2 after eight minutes. Conor Daly pointed for the home team following a clever pass from Mike McSweeney to extend the lead.
The O’Moore County raised a green flag after 17 minutes, Cork lost possession coming out of defence, and the ball ended up with Colin Dunne, and the latter finished expertly into the top corner of the net, 1-3 to 1-2. The Rebels tacked on two consecutive points through Daly and Hugh O’Connor. Laois were well in the game and looked dangerous going forward, and by the half-time whistle they were only a point behind, as Oisin Hooney and a Dunne close-range free kept Laois firmly in the contest.
On the resumption, the Leesiders kicked the first score from Eoin de Burca. Laois weren’t fazed by the surroundings and two white flags on the bounce from the Leinster side levelled the game, nine minutes into the new half. The teams were level once more with ten minutes remaining at 1-9 apiece.
With the teams level at 1-10 apiece going into injury time, Laois thought they had snatched victory, as Dunne converted a free until a Corcorcan placed ball from an acute angle went over.
Cork are out again next Saturday against Galway away from home before meeting Roscommon at home on Saturday, March 4 in the final group stage game, with the top team in the group proceeding to the final listed for Saturday, March 11.
O Corcorcan 1-4 (0-2 f), C Daly 0-2, H O’Connor, E de Burca 0-2 (0-1 f) each, N Kelly 0-1.
C Dunne 1-6 (0-4 f), O Hooney 0-2, C Heffernan, C Lee, J Kelly 0-1 each.
C Dungan (Carrigaline); J O’Driscoll (Valley Rovers), D Murray (Glanmire), D Twomey (Ballinascarthy); R O’Sullivan (Newcestown), J Kevane (Carbery Rangers), M Quirke (Ballinora); S Dore (Ballincollig), E Nash (c) (Douglas); M McSweeney (Knocknagree), H O’Connor (Newmarket), P O’Driscoll (Gabriel Rangers); N Kelly (Newcestown), C Daly (Clonakilty), O Corcoran (St Mary’s).
T O’Mahony (Castlehaven) for J O’Driscoll, E de Burca (St Michael’s) for E Nash, P O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for H O’Connor, C Kenneally (Clonakilty) for P O’Driscoll, J Gibson (Mayfield) for N Kelly (all h-t), O O’Sullivan (Kilmeen) for M McSweeney (47), C Dodd (Canovee) for J Kevane (53).
C Brown; S Lennon, B Dempsey, S McGrath; C McWey, S Fingleton (c), D Slevin; C Heffernan, B Reddin; O Hooney, C Lee, J Brennan; D Costello, J Byrne, C Dunne.
J Kelly for J Byrne (52).
Timmy McGrath (Limerick).