Young Rebels hold their nerve to topple Tipp

Munster U17HC: Cork 2-22 Tipperary 2-9

Tipperary's Brendan Murphy tries to block down a shot by Cork's Declan Hanlon. Pic: Denis Minihane

Thirteen points separated Cork from Tipperary in last night’s Munster U17HC semi-final at Páirc Uí Rinn, but it took an unanswered 1-7 in the final 10 minutes to secure victory.

John Considine’s side looked to have ensured a clash with Waterford in next week’s final when Brian Roche netted in the 42nd minute to make it 1-14 to 1-7, but Tipp had an instant response, as Ray McCormack got his second goal and Stephen Kirwan pointed.

Having had more than a few goal chances go amiss earlier, it was a precarious position for Cork, but they pushed on impressively, with Tommy O’Connell and Roche among the points, while Declan Hanlon scored a second goal late on.

“They took their two goal chances. We could probably have got more than we did, but if you don’t go for them, you won’t get them. Hopefully, we can get another few next week,” said Considine.

“You can’t talk about silverware until the last match and now we’re in that position. We’ve played Waterford twice already, two draws. If we play like we can play, we’ll win, but it could go either way.”

Cork led by four at the end of the first half and that lead would have been greater, but for three fine saves by Tipperary goalkeeper Conor Grace, while the visitors managed to convert their only real goalscoring chance of the opening period.

That came from full-forward Ray McCormack in the fourth minute, profiting from a good Eoghan Connolly pass to make it 1-1 to 0-2, but Cork had a strong response. Performing well in the air, the Rebels reeled off six points in a row, with one of Owen McCarthy’s two points in this period almost a goal but for Grace.

Captain Daire Connery launched a free from halfway on 16 to make it 0-8 to 1-2 — he would finish with five points, including four long-range dead balls — and, while Mark Downey responded for Tipp, it was only brief respite.

Roche, Connery and O’Connell opened up a six-point advantage, with one heading for the net but for Grace’s intervention. By half-time, it was 0-12 to 1-5, Glen Loughnane and Bryan McLoughney with late Tipp points.

When Kevin McCarthy pointed from Michael Nally’s good pass on the resumption, there was just a goal in it again. Two excellent Colin O’Brien points gave Cork breathing space again, but cheap wides prevented them pushing on further, while Josh Ryan got a good block on O’Connell’s shot.

Hanlon’s great win was the catalyst for Roche to open up that seven-point lead, but Tipp replied instantly, Darragh Flannery and McCarthy combining to set up McCormack for a kicked effort to the net.

They were back to three points, thanks to Kirwan, and O’Brien’s sixth point for Cork was answered by a Shane Doyle free. Joe Stack might have had another Cork goal but again Grace saved well, however Cork took over in the closing stages. They had moved nine clear when Hanlon got the second goal, and they will travel to Waterford next week.

Scorers for Cork: C O’Brien (0-6, 2 frees), D Connery (0-5, 4 frees), B Roche (1-2), T O’Connell (0-4), D Hanlon (1-0), O McCarthy (0-2), S Twomey, C O’Callaghan, J Stack (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tipperary: R McCormack (2-1), B McLoughney (1 free), S Kirwan (0-2 each), G Loughnane, K McCarthy, S Doyle (free) M Downey (0-1 each).

CORK: L Donovan (Na Piarsaigh); E Roche (Bride Rovers), C Nyhan (Ballinascarthy), R Sheehan (Mallow); A Walsh Barry (Carrigtwohill), C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe), J Hallahan (Cloyne); D Connery (Na Piarsaigh), S Twomey (Courcey Rovers); D Hanlon (Blarney), C O’Brien (Granard Gaels), T O’Connell (Midleton); O McCarthy (Inniscarra), J Stack (Kiltha Óg), B Roche (Bride Rovers).

Subs: S McCarthy (Fermoy) for Hallahan (48, injured), K Murphy (Sarsfields) for O McCarthy (53), K Farmer (Midleton) for Hanlon, K Finn (Midleton) for Stack (both 60).

TIPPERARY: C Grace (Toomevara); D Flannery (Kiladangan), Z Jackson (Moycarkey-Borris), J Ryan (St Mary’s); P Devlin (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill), B McGrath (Na Sairséalaigh Óg), B Murphy (Cappawhite); G Loughnane (Roscrea), E Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs); M Nally (Holycross-Ballycahill), B McLoughney (Kiladangan), K McCarthy (Toomevara); M Downey (Rosegreen), R McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), S Kirwan (Burgess).

Subs: J Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla) for Connolly (21), S Doyle (JK Brackens) for McLoughney (35), É McBride (JK Brackens) for Loughnane (42), S McAdams (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for McCarthy (49).

Referee: T Walsh (Waterford).

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