A brilliant start to the first period of extra-time, which included a goal after 18 seconds, delivered Cork a first All-Ireland minor football title since 2000 and a first underage double in 38 years.
Following on from the success of the Cork U20s, Bobbie O’Dwyer’s minors capped a fine summer for Cork football by securing further All-Ireland silverware.
Sub Ryan O’Donovan put the young Rebels on the road to victory when finding the Galway net for their third goal 18 seconds into extra-time. There followed three points in-a-row from Conor Corbett, Michael O’Neill and Patrick Campbell (free) to put six between the sides, 3-16 to 2-13. The difference was still at six during the quick turnaround, O’Donovan and Michael O’Neill extending their lead into the second period.
Niall Cunningham pulled a goal back for Galway, but it was a case of too little, too late.
The two periods of extra-time were needed after a most dramatic - and breathtaking - finish to the regulation hour.
Daniel Cox had put Galway in the driving seat when blasting to the Cork net on 56 minutes to edge the westerners into a 1-12 to 1-11 lead. A Michael O’Neill free six seconds into injury-time tied matters, but Galway snuck back in front following Tomo Culhane’s sixth free of the decider. Cork sub Luke Murphy levelled proceedings two minutes into the four allotted but Cork’s day appeared done when Galway sub Niall Cunningham, in what was his first involvement, bagged their second goal on 63 minutes.
Not willing to accept their fate, Cork worked possession down the field from the ensuing restart, with talisman Conor Corbett beating two defenders and ‘keeper Donie Halleran before rolling the ball into an empty net for further stalemate (2-13 apiece. Culhane was unable to win the game when the young Tribes won a free in the subsequent action. And to so extra-time, we went, Cork's blistered starting settling the issue
Four behind early in the second-half, the winners had thundered back into proceedings when registering 1-2 without reply to go in front for the first time. Jack Cahalane provided their opening goal.
Galway held the upper hand at the break, ahead by 0-8 to 0-5 after what was an error-ridden opening half an hour of football.
Both teams clearly felt the sense of occasion early on as there were a number of poor turnovers on either side, with possession needlessly kicked away far too often. This catalogue of early mistakes contributed to this minor final being seven and a half minutes old before a flag of any colour was raised.
Galway full-forward Tomo Culhane, after both sides kicked two wides apiece, was the man to break the deadlock having been set-up by midfielder James McLaughlin. Culhane was to give something of an exhibition in that first half. He was responsible for Galway’s opening four points, landing five in total. He kicked points from play off both feet, from fair distances too, and also converted an extremely difficult free from out on the Hogan Stand sideline.
Galway thrice held a double-scores advantage during the opening half, the widest the gap stretched to was 0-8 to 0-4.
Only two Cork forwards found the target, with Conor Corbett supplying three of their five first-half points. Bar Corbett, there was a definite reluctance on the part of the Cork forwards to take aim at the opposition posts.
Their spread of scores improved noticeably in the second period, but it was their resolve and character that ultimately saw them first across the line.
This is Cork's 11th All-Ireland minor football title, while for Galway it is a third final defeat in four years.
Scorers for Cork: C Corbett (1-7); R O'Donovan (1-2); M O’Neill (0-5, 0-2 frees); J Cahalane (1-1); P Campbell (0-1 free), D Cashman (0-2 each); L Murphy (0-1).
Scorers for Galway: T Culhane (0-10, 0-7); N Cunningham (2-0); D Cox (1-2); N Grainger (0-2).
Cork: C O'Leary (Douglas); D Peet (Clonakilty), N Lordan (Ballinora), J O’Shea (Urhan); D Cashman (Millstreet), D Linehan (Castlemagner), A Walsh Murphy (Valley Rovers); J Lawton (Argideen Rangers), E Nash (Douglas); H Murphy (Éire Óg), P Campbell (Nemo Rangers), K Scannell (Carbery Rangers); M O’Neill (Buttevent), C Corbett Clyda Rovers), J Cahalane (Castlehaven).
Subs: S Andrews (Shamrocks) for Peet (35); N Gough (Bishopstown) for O’Shea (46); L Murphy (Cullen) for Nash (51); R O’Donovan (Barryroe) for Cahalane (60); T O’Donoghue (Carrignavar) for Walsh Murphy (69); J Cahalane (Castlehaven) for Campbell (75); E Nash (Douglas) for Lawton (77).
Galway: D Halleran (Cortoon Shamrocks); J McGrath (Caherlistrane), R King (Clifden), L Tevnan (Northern Gaels); C Hernon (Bearna), E Fiorentini (St Michael’s), K O’Neill (Caherlistrane); J McLaughlin (Moycullen), D O’Flaherty (Salthill/Knocknacarra); E Nolan (Salthill/Knocknacarra), W Seoige (Naomh Anna Leitir Móir), D Brady (Corofin); N Grainger (Claregalway), T Culhane (Salthill/Knocknacarra), D Cox (Moycullen).
Subs: C Gallagher (St Michael’s) for O’Flaherty (52); N Cunningham (St Gabriel’s) for Grainger, D Kennedy (Clifden) for Nolan (both 55); J Webb (Oughterard) for Hernon (58); M Colleran (Tuam Stars) for Brady (66); D McNulty (St Joseph’s) for O’Neill, A Naughton (Caltra) for Cox (77).
Referee: N Mooney (Cavan).
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