Cork's Minor hurlers reach first Munster final since 2008

By Eoghan Cormican, Páirc Uí Rinn

Cork 2-22 Tipperary 2-19

Cork’s nine-year wait for a Munster MHC final appearance is over as Denis Ring’s young troops produced a hugely impressive performance to down the reigning champions in this evening’s semi-final replay.

Having thrice staved off defeat during last Thursday’s extra-time epic in Thurles, Cork took control of this contest, watched by a crowd of 8,142, from very early on and kept their foot on Tipperary’s throat right up until the closing stages.

A Cathal Bourke goal for Tipperary nine minutes from time, followed as it was by a second green flag from Kevin McCarthy in second-half stoppage, brought the visitors within two points of Cork, 2-20 to 2-18.

A Jake Morris point in the subsequent action left the minimum between the sides, a rather remarkable recovery by the Premier youngsters given they trailed by 11 points towards the end of the third quarter.

Brian Turnbull, the contributor of eight points, eased Cork nerves with a well-taken point.

A Daire Connery free four minutes into stoppage time proved the insurance score. A first Munster semi-final win for Cork since 2008. This they badly needed.

Cork were sitting pretty at half-time, ahead by 2-11 to 0-10. Their seven-point advantage had its roots in a blistering seven-minute spell between the fifth and 12th minute where Cork struck 2-5 without reply.

With Conor Bowe, Niall Hoctor and Anthony McKelvey having propelled Tipperary into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead within the opening five minutes, they were subsequently shoved onto the back foot as the hosts plugged hole after hole in the Tipperary rearguard.

Liam O’Shea picked out Craig Hanafin, unmarked, directly in front of Eoin Collins' goal and the Cork centre-forward made no mistake from close range.

The visiting defence was breached for a second occasion on 11 minutes as Brian Turnbull and Hanafin combined to put through Liam O’Shea, who stroke the sliotar past Eoin Collins.

The 2-5 burst sent the Rebels 2-6 to 0-4 clear. Points from Jake Morris and Anthony McKelvey steadied the reigning champions but they were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the half. And, indeed, the hour. Cork, though, weren’t for reeling in.

Scorers for Cork: B Turnbull (0-8, 0-4 frees); C Hanafin (1-4); D Connery (0-6, 0-2 frees, 0-1 sc); L O’Shea (1-0); R Downey (0-2); E Sheehan, S O’Leary Hayes (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tipperary: D Woods (0-6, 0-5 frees); J Morris (0-5); A McKelvey (0-4, 0-4 frees) C Bourke, K McCarthy (1-0 each); C Bowe (0-3); N Hoctor (0-1).

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

Subs: D Hanlon (Blarney) for O’Shea (52); B Murphy (Castlelyons) for Sheehan (58).

Tipperary: E Collins (Drom & Inch); M Purcell (Na Sairsealaigh Óg), M Feehan (Sean Treacy’s), J Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs); R Quirke (Cappawhite), C Morgan (Kilruane MacDonaghs), K Breen (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams); B O’Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill), P Cadell (JK Brackens); C Bowe (Moyne-Templetuohy), J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg), R McCormack (Borris-Ileigh); N Hoctor (St Mary’s Clonmel), A McKelvey (Moycarkey-Borris), C McCarthy (Nenagh Éire Óg).

Subs: D Woods (Holycross-Ballycahill) for McCarty; E Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs) for O’Mara (both HT); K McCarthy (Toomevara) for Breen (42); C Bourke (Clonoulty-Rossmore) for Hoctor (44); B Seymour (Kiladangan) for McKelvey (46).

Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).

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