Cork celebrate after nerve-jangling end

Cork boss Hughie Murphy insisted the All-Ireland Vocational Schools’ senior inter-county football championship is worth retaining following his team’s victory in Saturday’s final at Templetuohy.

Murphy masterminded Cork’s third victory in five seasons but GAA chiefs have decreed the competition will be suspended for two years.

Murphy said: “Christy Cooney or Páraic Duffy won’t be ringing me asking for my opinion but for what it’s worth, I think it’s definitely worth keeping. We operate from November to February and it’s a time of year where minors and county teams all over the country are banned from training but you spot them in pitches on Saturday mornings.

“Some of those guys will give the minor selectors something to think about now – from smaller, rural clubs or maybe hurling clubs.

“Daniel Nyhan (Ballinascarty) is an example. I don’t think he’s got a look in but he was outstanding there and last Saturday in the semi-final win over (last year’s winners) Donegal. But hopefully we’ll see it back – it’s only suspended for two years.”

Cork’s latest title was achieved in thrilling fashion as Gearóid Finn’s 56th minute free settled a tie that was level six times.

There was still time for late drama as Kildare forward Kelvan McNally, who had kicked two superb scores from play, screwed a late free wide when a point would have taken the game into extra-time.

At half-time, Cork found themselves 0-3 to 0-6 behind but corner-forward Mark Quinn had twice rattled the Kildare crossbar, prompting Murphy to joke: “I had twenty quid with him that he’d hit the crossbar in the second half!”

Cork then took over after half-time, hitting back to move 0-12 to 0-8 clear before Kildare rallied in a see-saw battle to level at 0-12 apiece.

But the young Rebels held their nerve to get the job done and Murphy added: “We’re delighted for them – Cork’s a very big county and Sean Terry (O’Sullivan) took two and a half hours to get back to Garnish last Thursday night after training, leaving Mallow at ten past nine. That kind of commitment speaks volumes for the kids and their families.”

Scorers for Cork: D O’Connor, S.T. O’Sullivan, M Quinn, I Walsh & G Finn (2f), 0-2 each, K Crowley, D Nyhan & G Barry 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: N Flynn 0-7 (2f), K McNally & W Fitzpatrick (1f), 0-2 each, C Jennings 0-1.

CORK: D Casey; K Dennehy, J Lynch, D Canty; K Crowley, C de hÍde, D Nyhan; M Murphy, G Farrell; G O’Shea, D O’Connor, S.T. O’Sullivan; M Quinn, G Barry, G Finn.

Subs: I Walsh for Murphy (18), R Cahalane for O’Shea (53), M Taylor for Lynch (57).

KILDARE: D Byrne; J Kennedy, T O’Connell, E Dempsey; C O’Donoghue, B Nolan, E Farrelly; A Bannon-Whelan, G Savage; R Casey, W Fitzpatrick, K McNally; N Flynn, E O’Keeffe, C Jennings.

Subs: C Davin for Farrelly (22), D Hannon for Casey (50), L McCabe for Jennings (56).

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).

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