DESPITE an impressive 2-12 to 0-14 win over Kerry in the quarter-final, Cork still find themselves hitting the road to Thurles this evening to play a Tipperary side beaten by Limerick on the other side of the draw in the Munster MFC.
The throw-in is at 7pm and the winners will meet either Limerick or Kerry who are in the other semi-final in Newcastlewest which starts 15 minutes earlier. The final is on Friday, June 2.
Billy Curtin (Valley Rovers);
Niall O’Shea (Urhan), Frank Hurley (O’Donovan Rossa), Matthew Ahern (St Finbarr's);
Odhran Foley (Bishopstown), Gearoid Daly (Mallow), Trevor Kiely (Doneraile);
Mark O’Brien (Ballinora), Mark Hetherington (St Finbarr's);
Timothy Cullinane (Ballinascarthy), Dara Sheedy (Bantry Blues), David O’Leary (Ballincollig);
Denis O’Mullane (Kilmurry), Sean Coakley (Douglas), Gary Holland (Bishopstown).
Devin Fray (Mallow) Oier O’Callaghan (Liscarroll Churchtown Gaels) Adam Dineen (Cill na Martra) Liam Hourihan (St Colums) Keith McCarthy (Dohenys/Sam Maguire) Sean O’Leary (Kilmurry) Luke Shorten (Tadgh Mac Cartaigh) Cian O’Sullivan (St Finbarr's) James O’Leary (Douglas).
Rickey Barrett (St Finbarr's), Darragh Clifford (Éire Óg), Jack Cullinane (Bandon), Joe Lyons (Nemo Rangers), Oisin McCarthy (Valley Rovers), Owen McCarthy (Clondrohid), Cathal Mullins (Mallow), Diarmuid O’Brien (Glanworth), James O’Riordan (Croke Rovers/Castlemagner), Tom O’Connor (Adrigole), Cillian Twohig (Kilmeen), Cathal Walsh (Mitchelstown)
You’d imagine Cork’s reward for accounting for the ‘old enemy’ in a high-quality game at Pairc Ui Chaoimh a week ago would be another home tie, especially as Tipperary lost the round-robin decider to the Shannonsiders in Mallow the same evening.
Last year, Cork lost to the Kingdom in the quarter-final and had to travel to play Tipp in Thurles with Kerry moving directly to the final. Limerick, who lost to Tipp, bowed out of the competition altogether.
This season’s format is slightly different in that both round-robin finalists progress to the last four with Limerick having home advantage against Kerry.
It appears both Cork and Kerry would be away in the semi-finals regardless of the outcome of their meeting with the so-called ‘weaker’ counties afforded every chance of causing an upset, unlikely, though in the circumstances.
The Premier County impressed in winning all three games in the round-robin series, starting with a commanding display in their 1-11 to 0-7 success against Limerick in Rathkeale, where the visitors led by 0-6 to 0-1 after 22 minutes and still maintained that five-point cushion at the break.
Tipp made the game safe with a goal after 49 minutes from tall full-forward Ronan O’Brien, who also contributed 0-3.
It was more straight-forward next time out against Waterford at Semple Stadium, Tipp leading by 1-6 to 0-2 at half-time and adding an eye-catching 2-12 on the resumption.
Michael Connellan scored their first-half goal and Emmet Bonner and Liam Freaney added one apiece with O’Brien finishing with 0-6 in a 3-18 to 1-3 victory.
It meant Tipp had already qualified for the final before meeting Clare, again in Thurles with the Banner needing to win and were only undone by late points from Mark Neville, Louis Coughlan and Freaney in a 0-12 to 0-9 home success.
That set up a rematch with Limerick in Mallow and is so often the case with U17s, the game was totally different to their original encounter with Limerick snatching victory with a late goal from Darragh Hogan in a 1-9 to 1-6 triumph.
Tipp led by 1-5 to 0-6 at the break, substitute Charlie Grace finding the net to seemingly put his side on the road to the Daryl Darcy Cup only for Limerick to pounce a couple of minutes from the end.
Cork travel with confidence after starting and finishing the Kerry game with a critical bunch of scores after the visitors had threatened a late revival.
Dara Sheedy (Bantry Blues) led the Cork attack and did so brilliantly. Even though he was a lightweight surrounded by heavyweights in the Kerry defence, Sheedy had the confidence and talents to prove size doesn’t always matter.
He kicked a couple of early frees as Cork led by 0-5 to 0-0 before adding two more from play after Sean Coakley (Douglas) neatly tucked away a penalty following a foul on Denis O’Mullane (Kilmurry) to help Cork lead 1-8 to 0-9 at the break.
And Sheedy added to his impressive contribution with a smashing goal three minutes into the second-half, planting the ball in the top left corner of keeper James Hoare’s net.
Yet, Cork could tack on one more point in the next 23 minutes though Kerry were also struggling in the scoring department until three in a seven-minute burst reduced the deficit to two, 2-9 to 0-13.
Sheedy and Coakley jumped to the rescue with points in quick succession before substitute James O’Leary (Douglas) closed out the scoring.
Cork defended well for the most part with Gearoid Daly (Mallow) and Frank Hurley (O’Donovan Rossa) strong through the middle and Trevor Kiely (Doneraile) also showing up well on the left.
Twelve months ago, Cork flew out of the traps to score 2-9 inside 21 minutes and another lightning start would be ideal again.