Sunday 22 September 2019

Corbett goal sends minors into orbit as Cork claim a second All-Ireland football title

All Ireland Minor Football Final - Cork 3-20, Galway 3-14 (after extra-time)

Cork captain Conor Corbett lifts the Tom Markham Cup after the Electric Ireland GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship Final match between Cork and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Cork captain Conor Corbett lifts the Tom Markham Cup after the Electric Ireland GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship Final match between Cork and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Diarmuid Sheehan at Croke Park, Dublin

It may have taken all of 80-plus minutes but Cork are the All Ireland Minor Football champions and few that made the trip to Dublin will find their hearts will be right yet.

In the most dramatic of fashions, Bobby O'Dwyer's charges dragged a draw from the jaws of defeat with a 63rd minute goal from Conor Corbett to cancel out what looked like a match winning goal from Niall Cunningham before then going on to dominate the extra 20 to secure the county's first minor football All-Ireland in almost two decades.

Cork came into the game with the much lauded Corbett leading the attack. The Rebels also had Jack Cahalane and Michael O'Neill up front with plenty of support behind.

For Galway, Tomo Culhane was the man on form with Daniel Cox on his shoulder in the corner another to watch.

The opening exchanges saw Cork on the front foot with plenty possession and a couple of early scoring chances however a few speculative efforts amounted to more than a pair of wides.

Galway then had a great goal chance but some good defensive work from Cork meant that the score line stayed level at zero well into the eight minute when Galway's impressive number 14, Culhane, slotted over from distance.

Galway looked more at home as the game headed for the 10thminute with much clearer chances but it was Cork's Corbett that would first put the rebels back on terms before then hitting the lead score from 30 metres out.

Galway responded with some classy play from their two most potent and dangerous strikers as Cox and Culhane linked well to first set up the latter for a magnificent point before the same player hit one of the scores of the day on 14 minutes to put the Tribesmen back in front.

Cork were struggling to cope with the Galway attacking threat and Culhane again punished, this time it was a free from distance.

Some good play saw Cork back to within one soon after as O'Neill found the blackspot but Galway were beginning to motor and a quick point from Cox highlighted the threat that the young Leesiders faced at the back.

Some good work from Castlemagner's Daniel Linehan at full back helped keep Galway out with Millstreet's Darragh Cashman another that used his height and power to keep the boys in white at bay - while also scoring two superb points.

Cox hit Galway's fifth on 24 minutes and Cork started to puff a little but Corbett again pointed after some incisive work from Castlehaven's Cahalane set up the Clyda Rovers' man.

Culhane hit another brace to send his side in at the turn on eight while a late score from Cashman saw Cork head for the dressing rooms on five - with plenty of work to do to drag this one out of the fire.

Cork again started the second half slowly and looked to be losing touch as Galway went for the throat with a selection of tasty score.

Cork got a lifeline when Cahalane finished to the net but Galway stayed in there and looked to be home and hosed when substitute Cunningham nearly burst the net on 63 minutes.

Corbett stood tall, and after a terrific move from Cork's defensive and midfield sets to get the ball to the north Cork man, he made no mistake and Cork were level on 2-13 apiece.

Cork goalkeeper Cian O'Leary deserves great credit too for producing two impressive second half saves that kept Cork in the hunt.

From the extra-time throw-in there was only going to be one winner as Cork, buoyed by the lifebuoy that Corbett provided, hit Galway hard and never let up.

This time Ryan O'Donovan landed the hammer blow, and despite Galway's late goal the Rebels saw the game out and were deservedly crowned All-Ireland minor champions.

Cork now hold the two big underage football titles - the future's brigh. The future may well be red.

CORK: C O'Leary; D Peet, N Lordan, J O'Shea; D Cashman (0-2), D Linehan, A Walsh Murphy; K Scannell, J Lawton; H Murphy, P Campbell (0-1), E Nash; M O'Neill (0-6, 3f), J Cahalane (1-1), C Corbett (1-7). Subs: S Andrews for Peet (35 mins), N Gough for O'Shea (46), L Murphy (0-1) for Nash (51), R O'Donovan (1-2) for Cahalane (60). T O'Donoghue for Walsh Murphy (69), Cahalane for Campbell (76), Nash for Scannell (78).

GALWAY: D Halleran; J McGrath, R King, L Tevnan; C Hernon, E Fiorentini, K O'Neill; J McLaughlin, D O'Flaherty; E Nolan, W Seoige, D Brady; N Grainger (0-2), T Culhane (0-10, 7f), D Cox (1-2). Subs: C Gallagher for O'Flaherty (52 mins), N Cunningham (2-0) for Grainger (56), D Kennedy for Nolan (56), J Webb for Hernon (57), M Colleran for Brady (65), A Naughton for Cox (77), D McNulty for O'Neill (77).

REFEREE: N Mooney (Cavan)