Cork followed up their 40-point victory over Clare with another impressive showing to record a 10-point win over Limerick in the Munster MHC semi-final.
Jack Leahy again was massively influential. The Dungourney man shot 3-9 against the Banner, this time he finished with 1-14.
Noel Furlong’s side turned the tables on the Shannonsiders after suffering defeat to them last December, leaving the Treaty men with no answer to Cork’s power - their goal only arriving at the death by which time this tie was settled.
Cork, who last won this championship in 2017, can now look forward to a meeting with Waterford in the final on Monday, August 9.
There was one change on the Cork team that was announced during the week with Kanturk’s Rory Sheahan replacing corner-forward William Buckley who missed out through illness. Sheahan played deep with Eoin O’Leary and Leahy in the inside forward line.
Limerick edged in front early and central to that advantage was the display of wing-forward Shane O’Brien — their best player and top scorer — who had one from play and one from a free. Corner-back Joe Fitzgerald was then on target for the green and white to move 0-3 to 0-1 clear.
Cork, who had Kevin Lyons in excellent form at full-back, gradually worked their way back through points from Leahy, Tadhg O’Connell, and Diarmuid Healy, and by the first water break, they had drawn level, 0-5 apiece.
Upon the resumption, there was quite the turnaround for Cork, outscoring Limerick eight points to two. Working possession upfield, the Rebels’ attacking unit was causing all sorts of problems with five of the six forwards getting on the scoresheet, including superb dead-ball accuracy from Leahy while O’Leary, Healy, Ben Nyhan, and O’Connell increased their advantage.
As well, Cork had three opportunities for goal - one of the efforts, in particular, from Leahy demanding a stunning save from Limerick goalkeeper Tomás Lynch.
Cork led 0-13 to 0-7 at the midway mark and made a bright start to the second half, points from Leahy and Healy shoving them further in front after eight minutes.
At the final water break, they had moved 0-20 to 0-12 to the good. O’Brien, meanwhile, tried his hardest to keep Limerick in touch.
Upon their return to the pitch, Leahy pounced for Cork’s goal after he collected a spectacular crossfield delivery from wing-back Timmy Wilk, which extended Cork's lead to 1-20 against 0-13.
Wilk, Healy, Leahy, and substitute David Cremin closed out the scoring for the winners. David Fitzgerald netted on 60 minutes for Limerick but it was a mere consolation.
J Leahy (1-14, 0-9 frees, 0-1 65), D Healy (0-4), T O’Connell (0-2), T Wilk, E O’Leary, B Nyhan, D Cremin (0-1 each).
S O’Brien (0-8, 0-6 frees), D Fitzgerald (1-0), M Riordan (0-4), P Connery, C Scully (free) (0-1 each).
P O’Sullivan (Fr O’Neill’s); D O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig), K Lyons (Ballygarvan), J Byrne (Ballinora); J Dwyer (Ballincollig, j-capt), B O’Connor (St Finbarr’s, j-capt), T Wilk (Cobh); M Finn (Midleton), C Tobin (Bride Rovers); D Healy (Lisgoold), B Nyhan (Clyda Rovers), T O’Connell (Ballincollig); E O’Leary (Glen Rovers), J Leahy (Dungourney), R Sheahan (Kanturk).
A Walsh (Bride Rovers) for B Nyhan (half-time), R O’Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh) for E O’Leary (56), K Wallace (St Catherine’s) for B O’Connor (57 inj), D Cremin (Midleton) for D Healy (59), O O’Regan (Erin’s Own) for J Leahy (60).
T Lynch (Doon); J Fitzgerald (Monaleen), V Harrington (Na Piarsaigh), W Dore (Dromin/Athlacca/Banogue); D Fitzgerald (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), C Scully (Dromin/Athlacca/Banogue, capt), M Fitzgibbon (Cappamore); C O’Carroll (Croagh/Kilfinny), L Dennehy (Glenroe); S O’Brien (Kilmallock), K Ahern (Blackrock), P Kennedy (Garryspillane); M Riordan (Castletown/Ballyagran), H Fox (Hospital/Herbertstown), C Hayes (Newcastle West).
W Kearns (Na Piarsaigh) for H Fox (36), P Connery (Kilmallock) for C O’Carroll (42), R O’Byrne (Crecora/Manister) for C Hayes (50), G Rowsome (Ahane) for L Dennehy (58), M Gavin (Ballybrown) for K Ahern (60).
Nicky O’Toole (Waterford).