Following the exhibition game against the North Mon selection on Friday night, another experimental team proved marginally stronger than University of Limerick in the Waterford Crystal tournament in Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday to set up a final against Waterford at the same venue next Sunday.
Admitting to being “very pleased” with the performance, Walsh said: “It was put up to us a few times and when the injury happened to Cian some of the young guys could have switched off. We were wondering on the line how they’d respond, but they responded well.
“There are a couple of fellows in there who are serious operators and well worthy of a place.
“Obviously we can’t take the whole lot of them but if we can take a few of them over the next year it would be great.’’
Despite their inability to get a goal from four good chances, before Conor Lehane put the ball in the net minutes from the end, Cork led all the way from the time centre-forward Bill Cooper’s score made it 0-6 to 0-5.
On the clock, that point came in the 30th minute, but in actual playing time it was after 18 minutes, after a hold-up when Cian Fogarty from the Killeagh club suffered a hip injury in the 11th minute. While he was motionless before eventually being stretchered off, the Cork boss was happy to report afterwards that he had made a quick recovery.
UL, with All-Ireland-winning corner-back Paddy Stapleton from Tipp impressing at right corner-back and Clare forward Andrew Quinn excelling in attack, were without Offaly seniors Brian Carroll and Shane Dooley. Former Cork panellist Pa Cronin was a replacement at midfield, having been away in Waterford with the Cork squad on an overnight training session.
Just as Quinn was to emerge leading scorer for the visitors, Cork had a potential match-winner in Eoghan Murphy, who contributed the opening three scores of the game inside five minutes.
By the 10th minute, a similar return from Andrew Quinn and another point from Mickey Heffernan had UL ahead just before the game had to be stopped.
When it resumed, former-Cork minor Conor Lehane levelled scores and then put Cork in front in the 29th minute before Tom O’Brien brought UL level. After that came Bill Cooper’s point which gave Cork a lead they never lost. UL ‘keeper Stephen O’Keeffe denied both Jamie Coughlan and Eoghan Murphy and at the break, it was 0-11 to 1-7.
The pattern of the game was much the same in the second half, with Cork promising more in attack and steady in defence, where Millstreet’s Mark Ellis was prominent at centre-back. They stayed in front despite having a goal disallowed – when sub Luke O’Farrell was inside the square – and Murphy missed a penalty.
Scorers for Cork: E Murphy 0-8 (0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘65), C Lehane 1-3, B Cooper 0-3, J Coughlan 0-2, B Hartnett and C McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for UL: A Quinn 1-8 (0-7 frees), P Murphy 1-0, P Cronin 0-2, M Heffernan, T O’Brien and B Beckett 0-1 each.
CORK: M Coleman; P O’Leary, C Fogarty, S Murphy; C Joyce, M Ellis, R Ryan; G Callinan, B Lawton; T Murray, B Cooper, C Lehane; J Coughlan, E Murphy, B Hartnett.
Subs: P O’Mahony for Fogarty (inj., 22); A Nash for Coleman (ht); C McCarthy for Murray (51); L. O’Farrell for Hartnett (61); J Wall for Coughlan (65).
UL: S O’Keeffe; P Stapleton, M Malone, K Murphy; N Murphy, J Gallagher, B Fox; T O’Brien, P Cronin; T Butler, P Murphy, M Heffernan; P Kelly, M Collins, A Quinn. Subs: B Beckett for Butler, A Hogan for Murphy and K Joyce for Fox (half-time); D Burke for Collins (46); A Morris for O’Brien (52).
Referee: S McMahon (Clare).