Tuesday 24 September 2019

Conor Corbett inspires Cork to Minor All-Ireland glory as Rebels beat Galway in Croker cracker

Cork 3-20 Galway 3-14 (After extra time)

Cork manager Bobbie O'Dwyer celebrates with players
Cork manager Bobbie O'Dwyer celebrates with players

Ronan O'Brien

Conor Corbett scored 1-7 as Cork were crowned All-Ireland minor champions with victory over Galway after extra-time at Croke Park. This was another boost to Cork football in a year where the seniors were relegated to Division 3 of the NFL but their U-20s won an All-Ireland.

Bobby O'Dwyer's side struggled in the first half but were still in contention at the interval. Jack Cahalane scored the Cork goal on the resumption but Daniel Cox fired back while Niall Cunningham looked to have sealed the win deep in injury-time.

There was still time for Corbett to score another Cork goal and the teams went to extra-time after it finished 2-13 to 2-13. Ryan O'Donovan scored as Cork registered an unanswered 1-3 and Galway couldn't fight back despite Niall Cunningham's second goal.

"It is a dream come true. The lads have worked since October. We couldn't leave that behind us," said Corbett.

"The goal was probably the best moment of my life. This is everybody's dream. It is a dream since you are five or six."

Cork dominated possession but Galway held a 0-8 to 0-5 half-time lead after a brilliant defensive display.

Tomo Culhane and Corbett (two) traded early points. Culhane popped over an effort off his left in the 12th minute and moments later his right boot did the damage.

When Culhane scored his fourth (free) Galway were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead in the 16th minute. Michael O'Neill hit back but Cox scored his first point after he had been blocked down.

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Cox doubled his tally, Corbett scored his third point but Nathan Grainger found the target. Culhane tapped over her second free before Darragh Cashman scored a huge point in the second minute of added time.

Galway were three in front at half-time and made the ideal start to the second half when Culhane slotted a free. He nearly scored a goal when he got to James McLaughlin's delivery but Cian O'Leary saved. Then the Cork goalkeeper did well to save from Grainger but he had been fouled and Culhane scored the free.

Patrick Campbell had scored Cork's first point of the second half and they piled on the pressure. O'Neill's pass put Cahalane in space and he powered a shot low past Donie Halleran in the 37th minute.

Cork followed that up with points from Cashman and Corbett to lead for the first time since the 10th minute.

That lasted four minutes until Grainger scored and Culhane's fifth free put Galway back in front. O'Neill scored to level proceedings, Corbett scored and Cahalane gave Cork their biggest lead in the 54th minute.

It was 1-11 to 0-12 but Cox drove at the heart of the defence and blazed his shot over the head of O'Leary and into the net. O'Neill and Culhane exchanged frees but Luke Murphy levelled it up in the 63rd minute.

There was more drama when Cunningham blasted another brilliant goal for Galway but Cork went right back up the field and Corbett scored the equaliser.

It went to extra-time, level 2-13 to 2-13, and O'Donovan finished the third Cork goal within 20 seconds of the restart.

Corbett scored another point and Cork raced clear with two points from O'Neill. Culhane added his tenth point and Galway trailed by 3-17 to 2-14 at half-time in extra-time.

O'Donovan and O'Neill scored further points before Cunningham scored a consolation.

Scorers – Cork: C Corbett 1-7, M O'Neill 0-6 (3f), R O'Donovan 1-2, J Cahalane 1-1, D Cashman 0-2, P Campbell 0-1, L Murphy 0-1

Galway: T Culhane 0-10 (7f), N Cunningham 2-0, D Cox 1-2, N Grainger 0-2.

Cork – C O'Leary; A Walsh Murphy, D Linehan, D Peet; D Cashman, N Lordan, J O'Shea; J Lawton, K Scannell; H Murphy, C Corbett, E Nash; M O'Neill, P Campbell, J Cahalane.

Subs: S Andrews for Peet (35), N Gough for O'Shea (46), L Murphy for Nash (51), R O'Donovan for Cahalane (60), T O'Donoghue for Walsh Murphy (69), E Nash for Lawton (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, T Culhane, D Cox.

Subs: C Gallagher for O Flaherty (52), D Kennedy for Nolan (56), N Cunningham for Grainger (56), J Webb for Hernon (57), M Colleran for Brady (36), A Naughton for Cox (78), D McNulty O'Neill (78).

Ref – Noel Mooney (Cavan).

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