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Late goal helps Tipp overcome Cork in All-Ireland U21 hurling final

Tipperary3-13 - 1-16Cork

A Conor Stakelum goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppages handed victory to Tipperary in this All-Ireland U21 hurling final.

The sides were level, 2-12 to 1-15, heading into the five minutes of stoppages allocated by referee John Keenan. Cork, having clipped the three previous scores, looked the more likely winners and edged ahead when Tim O’Mahony, fed by Mark Coleman, split the posts in the 62nd minute.

This final, though, had more than a few twists and turns left in it. Tipperary sub Conor Stakelum, forcing a turnover deep in the Cork defence, barreled his way towards goal on 64 minutes, bundling the sliotar across the white paint to send the underdogs into a two-point lead. David Gleeson, another sub, nailed the target thereafter to seal a famous win for Tipperary.

Picture: Sportsfile

This was the county’s tenth All-Ireland at this grade and their first since 2010, a win made all the sweeter by the fact that they were written off after their 13-point Munster final drubbing at the hands of Cork.

The winners were the better side for a large chunk of the second half, Colin English, Jake Morris and Cian Darcy clipping three-in-a-row upon the restart to turn a 1-9 to 1-7 interval deficit into a 1-10 to 1-9 lead.

Darragh Fitzgibbon’s point on 49 minutes was Cork's first from play in the second-half and while they recovered from a 54th minute Stephen Nolan goal, they were powerless to comeback from Stakelum’s injury-time sucker-punch.

Cork would have been relatively content with their 1-9 to 1-7 interval lead considering they trailed by 1-5 to 0-1 after 14 minutes. Where Cork lept from the blocks in the Munster decider, it was Tipperary who opened much the sharper here, with angled deliveries into Jake Morris, Mark Kehoe and Cian Darcy causing the Cork full-back line plenty of bother.

Picture: Sportsfile

Morris (0-2, one free), Jerome Cahill (0-2) and Cian Darcy moved the underdogs four-point lead and that gap further widened when Mark Coleman fouled Kehoe for a penalty which Jake Morris converted.

The Premier youngsters, though, wouldn’t score again for another 14 minutes, by which time Cork had helped themselves to 1-6 without reply.

Conor Cahalane, a late call-up to the starting team instead of Ger Millerick, was responsible for two white flags during their spell and also provided the Cork goal, a superb individual effort where he carried possession from the 45-metre line in.

Paudie Feehan ended Tipp’s scoring drought, but momentum was with Cork and they finished out the half with points from Declan Dalton (free) and the excellent Robbie O’Flynn. The latter’s redeployment to the role of third midfielder was central in curbing Tipperary’s early dominance, with the Erin’s Own man getting onto a huge amount of possession.

Picture: Sportsfile

And while O'Flynn continued to show well in the second-half, too many of Cork's big-name players were marked absent.

Scorers for Cork: C Cahalane (1-3); D Dalton (0-5, 0-5 frees); R O’Flynn (0-3); D Fitzgibbon, S Kingston, J O’Connor, B Turnbull, T O’Mahony (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tipperary: J Morris (1-4, 0-3 frees, 1-0 pen); J Cahill (0-3); S Nolan, C Stakelum (1-0 each); C Darcy (0-2); P Feehan, C English, D Gleeson, G Browne (0-1 each).

Cork: G Collins (Ballinhassig); N O’Leary (Castlelyons), D Griffin (Carrigaline), D Lowney (Clonakilty); E Murphy (Sarsfields), M Coleman (Blarney), B Hennessy (St Finbarr’s); C Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), D Fitzgibbon (Charleville); R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own), S Kingston (Douglas), D Dalton (Fr O’Neill’s); L Healy (Sarsfields), T O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), J O’Connor (Sarsfields).

Subs: B Turnbull (Douglas) for Healy (38 mins); G Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s) for O’Connor (57)

Tipperary: B Hogan (Kiladangan); K O’Dwyer (Killenaule), B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), E Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs); P Campion (Drom-Inch), R Byrne (Portroe), D Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore); S Nolan (Drom-Inch), G Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams); P Feehan (Killenaule), J Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs), C English (Fr Sheehy’s); C Darcy (Kilruane MacDonaghs), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg).

Subs: C Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields) for Feehan (29 mins); D Gleeson (Ballinahinch) for Darcy (41); C Morgan (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for O’Dwyer (49, inj); P Cadell (JK Brackens) for Campion (52); L Fairbrother (JK Brackens) for English (60)

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).