Talisman Brian Turnbull takes game by the horns

When the Galway minor management sit down this week to analyse their All-Ireland final opponents, top of the list will be devising a plan to curb Brian Turnbull.

Cork's Brian Turnbull races goalwards for his added time point in the All-Ireland MHC semi-final at Croke Park. Pictures: Dan Linehan

The Cork corner-forward, as he has been all summer, was near untouchable yesterday, converting 11 placed-ball efforts and throwing over two from play. He had five to his name by the call for half-time, having won three of the four frees he floated between the sticks.

The Douglas teenager won two more frees in the second period and arguably the most important of his lot was the 63rd-minute point directly following Mark Grogan’s goal which had cut the deficit back to a single score, 2-13 to 0-22.

He’s a modest lad, too, if his post-match interview was anything to go by. When his double-figure haul was mentioned, Turnbull, who is averaging eight points per game, replied that he “probably hadn’t been clinical enough”.

We imagine he’s signposting the four first-half wides he amassed.

If anything, though, they serve only to highlight the amount of possession Cork’s talisman was winning.

Despite tallying upward of 20 scores for the fifth game in succession, this was Cork’s least impressive showing of the campaign. Both goals were avoidable and were it not for last-ditch interventions from Ger Collins, Conor O’Callaghan, and Aaron Walsh Barry at various junctures in the first period, Dublin could — and possibly should — have scored another goal or two.

That they still finished four clear and never allowed their opponents closer than three points in the second period says plenty about the quality of Denis Ring’s group. Moreover, they were forced to play the final quarter with 14 men following a second yellow card to Robert Downey for a wild pull.

Somewhat similar to Galway on Sunday week last, Cork made harder work of this than they needed to.

“We didn’t care how it looked on television, semi-finals are for winning and whether it was one point or 10, we just wanted to get the win. We’re very, very happy,” Turnbull remarked.

The Munster champions led 0-11 to 1-4 at the break and the interval difference would have stood at seven points were it not for the concession of an injury-time goal.

With Cork’s full-back line having twice denied Dublin forwards, they were powerless to prevent Eoghan O’Neill’s kicked shot from crossing the white paint.

Central to Cork’s scoreboard dominance was the six unanswered points notched between the seventh minute and quarter hour mark, Diarmuid Linehan, Connery (0-2, 0-1 free), and Turnbull (0-3, two frees) the providers in establishing a 0-7 to 0-2 advantage. Liam Murphy and Seán Currie (free) replied for the beaten Leinster finalists, but back came the young Rebels with four in a row.

Connery — firing over his third within 19 seconds of the restart — and Turnbull (free) eased the Rebels back into their stride upon the change of ends. And truth be told, there was a creeping inevitability to this semi-final contest from a long way out.

Dublin, who have now fallen at this hurdle for the past three years, failed to register a single score from play between the 34th and 55th minute. Seán Currie and Liam Murphy both sniped a pair of frees during this period, with the latter being handed responsibility for dead-ball duties within 45 metres of the Cork posts after Currie drilled wide a succession of frees.

Robert Downey was sent to the line entering the final quarter, but it had little impact. Turnbull, Connery, and Brian Roche saw Cork across the line, bridging a 10-year gap to the county’s last All-Ireland minor final appearance.

Scorers for Cork:

B Turnbull (0-13, 0-11 frees); D Connery (0-5, 0-2 frees); B Roche (0-2); G Millerick, D Linehan, B Buckley (0-1 each).

Scorers for Dublin:

S Currie (0-6, 0-3 frees); M Grogan, E O’Neill (1-1 each); L Murphy (0-4, 0-3 frees); E Allen (0-1).

CORK:

G Collins (Ballinhassig); C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe), S O’Leary Hayes (Midleton), E Roche (Bride Rovers); A Walsh Barry (Carrigtwohill), J Keating (Kildorrery), G Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s); D Connery (Na Piarsaigh), B Roche (Bride Rovers); B Buckley (Dromina), C Hanafin (Na Piarsaigh), D Linehan (Ballyhooly); L O’Shea (Lisgoold), R Downey (Glen Rovers), B Turnbull (Douglas).

Subs:

B Murphy (Castlelyons) for Hanafin (47 mins); D Hanlon (Blarney) for Buckley (49 mins); C O’Brien (Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels) for B Roche (60).

DUBLIN:

C O’Donoghue (Ballyboden St Enda’s); B McHugh (Raheny), K Burke (Na Fianna), A Dunphy (St Brigid’s); E O’Donnell (Whitehall Caolmcille), L Walsh (Lucan Sarsfields), L Gannon (Whitehall Colmcille); D Keogh (Thomas Davis), B Coffey (Lucan Sarsfields); D Ó Floinn (Cuala), L McDwyer (Ballyboden St Enda’s), M Grogan (Kilmacud Crokes); L Murphy (Cuala), E O’Neill (St Vincent’s), S Currie (Na Fianna).

Subs:

S Kennedy (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for McDwyer (HT); E Allen (Lucan Sarsfields) for Coffey, C Derwin (Craobh Chiaráin) for Ó Floinn (both 52); T Aherne (Ballinteer St John’s) for O’Donnell (60).

Referee:

M Murtagh (Waterford).


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