Cork pip Kerry in thrilling Munster U-21 final
Kerry 1-14 3-9 Cork
Cork survived a stirring second half Kerry comeback to regain the Munster U21 Football Championship trophy after nearly letting it slip at the Austin Stack Park in Tralee this evening.
Kerry levelled the contest in the 61st minute through a Tony Brosnan point and the game looked set for extra time until Cork substitute Cian Dorgan kicked the winning point a minute from the end.
While Cork just about deserved victory, this young Kerry side showed remarkable courage in coming back in the second half and with 12 of the starting 15 again underage next season their long wait for a Munster u21 crown should soon be over.
The second half saw Kerry introduce Greg Horan and they took the game to Cork after Jack Savage and Sean O’Donoghue exchanged early frees.
Kerry then reduced the gap thanks to a Killian Spillane point and then went in front with a superb goal created by Brian Beaglaoich and rifled to the net by midfielder Mark O’Connor.
Dara Roche then gave Kerry a two point lead but Cork struck for another crucial goal in the 47th minute when Stephen Cronin sent midfielder Sean White through and suddenly Cork were two in front again, 3-7 to 1-11.
Kerry continued to battle and should have goaled in the 50th minute but Cork defender Kieran Histon cleared the ball off the line when Dara Roche had beaten the keeper.
Michael Burns kicked a point from the resultant ’45 but a free from Stephen Sherlock had Cork two clear with six minutes remaining. Kerry then kicked two bad wides before Savage converted a free in the 59th minute to narrow the gap to a point. Then came Brosnan’s late equaliser but with extra time looming sub Cian Dorgan secured yet another Munster title for Cork.
Kerry began in explosive fashion with two points inside the opening minute from Jack Savage and Brian Seanacháin, but that was as good as it got for the Kingdom in the opening half as Cork dominated the middle third of the pitch.
In fact, Cork hadn’t been so wayward with their shooting in the opening half when they kicked five wides playing against a stiffish breeze then the game would have been over at half-time.
Cork was level by the sixth minute when the influential Ryan Harkin kicked a point and then Brian Coakley levelled from a free. Killian Spillane gave Kerry the lead with a classy point from the wing but Cork were attacking in numbers and Sean O’Donoghue, Ryan Harkin and Brian Coakley along with Michael Hurley stretching the Kerry defence in every attack
Cork got the first of their two goals in the 11th minute when Michael Hurley eluded a couple of Kerry defenders before placing Brian Coakley for a well-taken goal. Harkin and Hurley added points as Cork led 1-4 to 0-3 at the end of the opening quarter.
Kerry improved in the second quarter with Matthew Flaherty excelling along with Jason Foley, Gavin White and Mark O’Connor began to make an impact at midfield.
Dara Roche kicked a fine point for Kerry before Cork scored their second goal in the 19th minute when Sean Powter won a breaking ball just outside the Kerry 45 and raced right through before planting the ball in the back of the net. Kerry did rally in the final 10 minutes despite two wides from Savage and one from Brian Begley Kerry tacked on three points two from the boot of Savage from placed balls and a fine effort from Eanna O’Conchuir to see Cork retire 2-4 to 0-7 at the interval.
Scorers-Cork: B Coakley 1-2, S White and S Powter 1-o each; M Hurley 0-2, R Harkin, P Kelleher, S O’Donoghue (f), S Sherlock (f) and C Dorgan 0-1 each.
Kerry: J Savage 0-6 (0-4 frees); M O’Connor 1-0; D Roche 0-3; K Spillane 0-2; B Seanacháin, T Brosnan and C Coffey 0-1 each.
E O’Brien; B Ó Beaglaoich, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; M Flaherty, A Barry, G White; M O’Connor, B O’Sullivan; B Ó Seanacháin, M Burns, E Ó Conchúir; D Roche, K Spillane, J Savage.
Subs: G Horan for B Seanacháin (HT); D Foran for M O’Connor (42); C Coffey for B Beaglaoich (43); J Kiely for E O’Conchuir (49); T Brosnan for D Roche (56), F Clifford for G White (56).
A Casey ;M McSweeney , J Mullins , D Quinn; K Flahive , S Cronin, K Histon; S White, S O’Leary ;S Powter S O’Donoghue, R Harkin; B Coakley ,P Kelleher, M Hurley.
Subs: S Sherlock for S Powter (HT); D O’Dunin for S O’Donoghue (45); C Kelly for B Quinn (51); C Dorgan for B Coakley (50) E Lavers for SO’Leary (53);
Referee; S Lonergan (Tipperary)