Cork surge through to All-Ireland Under-21 final

Cork 0-13 Armagh 0-12, O'Moore Park, Portlaoise

Cork held off a second half surge from Armagh to qualify for the Cadbury's All-Ireland Under-21 football final with a 0-13 to 0-12 victory at O'Moore Park this afternoon.

With man of the match Fintan Goold showing well, the Munster champions built up a 0-7 to 0-1 lead in the opening stages.

Top scorer Stefan Forker, who struck 0-5 in all, kept Armagh in contention, but Cork charged forward to claim a 0-11 to 0-5 half-time lead.

Paul Courtney and Charlie Vernon added to Armagh's tally but Cork's scoring ability was just two much with Daniel Goulding (0-4), Goold and Fiachra Lynch (0-3 each) leading the way.

In front of a 4,000-strong Portlaoise crowd, Cork showed great determination and fired themselves ahead with excellent scores from Goold, Colm O'Neill, Goulding (0-2) and Lynch (0-3).

Although the Rebels looked like they were cruising at that early stage, Armagh had other ideas and Peter McDonald's side came back well with four points in as many minutes. Kevin O'Rourke (0-2), Crossmaglen's David McKenna and the impressive Forker all found their range as the Ulster champions reduced the gap to two points, ten minutes before the interval.

However, Cork came back strongly to hold their opponents scoreless for the remaining minutes of the first half, as they tagged on points from skipper Andrew O'Sullivan, Goold, Goulding and O'Neill.

Although Cathrach Keane missed a goal chance on the restart, Goold helped to extend the Cork lead to seven points, nine minutes after the break.

Despite Cork looking very settled at this stage, they could not have predicted what was to follow from Armagh as the men in orange began to dominate possession in all sectors.

Points from Courtney and Forker started the Armagh comeback as the deficit was cut to five points, but they were guilty of some poor shooting as, with time running out, panic began to set in.

The introduction of Sean Clarke helped steady the ship as Armagh found their shooting boots once more. James Lavery, Gareth O'Neill, Vernon and Forker all raised white flags to reduce the arrears to the minimum, with two minutes of normal time remaining.

A fisted Goulding point extended Cork's lead to two points but Armagh were continuing to press hard and with heavy rain prevailing, they carved a goal chance. Nonetheless, corner forward Kevin O'Rourke could only watch on in agony as he skimmed the ball wide of the posts.

An injury-time point from Forker once again made it a one-point game, but Cork held onto possession from the kickout to edge into an All-Ireland decider against Laois in a fortnight's time.

CORK: K O'Halloran; R Carey, M Shields, G O'Shea; S O'Donoghue, D Limrick, E Cadogan; F Goold (0-3), A O'Sullivan (0-1); F Lynch (0-3), C Keane, P Kerrigan; C O'Neill (0-2), D Goulding (0-4, 1f), R Leahy.

Subs used: K Harrington for O'Shea (43 mins), S Cahalane for Leahy (52), C O'Driscoll for Keane (60).

ARMAGH: P Rogers; K Dyas, B Donaghy, M Ferris; P Kernan, K Toner, T McClelland; J Lavery (0-1), D McKenna (0-1); S Forker (0-5, 3f), P Courtney (0-1), C Vernon (0-1); K O'Rourke (0-2), J Hanratty, G O'Neill (0-1).

Sub used: S Clarke for Hanratty (46).

Referee: Pat McGovern (Galway)


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