Cork U20s can call on Ben O'Connor for Munster final

Munster academy contract looms for St Finbarr's man but he will be available for remainder of campaign
Cork U20s can call on Ben O'Connor for Munster final

Ben O'Connor of Cork tries to evade Seán O'Neill of Limerick during the Munster U20 HC game at TUS Gaelic Grounds last month. Picture: Stephen Marken/Sportsfile

While his future almost certainly lies with the oval ball rather than the sliothar, Ben O’Connor of St Finbarr’s will be available for Cork’s Munster U20HC final against Clare next Monday and the All-Ireland final if the Rebels make it there.

In tandem with his GAA progress, O’Connor has developed into a top rugby player and was full-back on the Presentation Brothers College side that won the Munster Schools Senior Cup in March before being included in the Ireland U19 squad.

An academy contract with Munster for next season is all but assured, but before then he will be able to help the team managed by his namesake from Newtownshandrum.

Munster are said to be impressed by O’Connor’s ability to perform in clutch situations and that has been seen on the GAA fields too as he starred in Cork’s All-Ireland minor win of 2021 and featured for the U20 side last year as well as being a key member of the Barrs side that ended a 29-year wait for a Cork senior hurling title.

The rugby commitments in the spring meant he was unavailable for Cork in their opening three Munster U20 against Waterford, Tipperary or Clare but, in the absence of Eoin Downey, O’Connor was selected at centre-back for the win over Limerick last Friday week.

With Downey’s involvement against Clare yet to be decided – he would miss the senior game between the counties the follow Sunday if so – being able to call on O’Connor is a bonus.

Though Monday night's Electric Ireland Munster MHC final between the counties took place in FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, the U20 decider will take place at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick with a 7.30pm throw-in.

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