Saturday 18 November 2017

Early momentum enough to secure crown for Tribesmen

GALWAY 1-14 CORK 1-11

Cork’s Jamie Wall tries to escape the challenge of Shane Walsh.
Cork’s Jamie Wall tries to escape the challenge of Shane Walsh.

John Fallon

Galway captured their second All-Ireland Under-21 title in three years when they produced a superb display of football to see off the challenge of a Cork side who only got going in the second half after they fell nine points behind.

Galway did not score for the final 20 minutes but by then they had done enough to capture their fifth ever Under-21 crown with a display of traditional football where they made excellent use of the ball.

Cork, bidding for their 12th title, never led in the contest although they came with a spirited comeback in the final quarter.

But they never looked like catching a Galway side for whom Cathal Mulryan, Fiontan O'Curraion and the full-forward line of Shane Walsh, Adrian Varley and Ian Burke were superb.

Galway, backed by the strong breeze, hit the front with two pointed frees from corner-forward Shane Walsh in the opening eight minutes of the game but Cork, getting plenty of players behind the ball and working it forward with good passing movements, enjoyed plenty of possession.

The Cork attack, though, made little headway and did not score their first point from play until six minutes from the break, when Brian Hurley pointed. Up to then they had to be content with a '45' from captain Damien Cahalane and a free from Hurley after Galway had opened up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 19 minutes.

The Tribesmen, with captain Fiontán O Curraoin and Tom Flynn on top in midfield, played some excellent direct football and the policy reaped a rich dividend with Cathal Mulryan kicking two superb efforts from play and full-forward Adrian Varley also finding range after another flowing passing move.

Hurley kept Cork in touch with his points but Galway corner-forward Ian Burke displayed great confidence in going for scores at the first attempt and it paid off with the Corofin clubman kicking three excellent points, including one when Varley intercepted a free-kick from Cahalane.

Another free from Walsh put the Tribesmen 0-8 to 0-3 in front after 26 minutes but the Munster champions finished the half strongly and were given hope with a couple of points from corner-forward Dan MacEoin to leave it 0-9 to 0-5 at the end of an entertaining opening half.

Cork made a blistering start to the second-half with Hurley kicking two points in less than 90 seconds after the restart.

But Burke responded with another point from play for Galway and while MacEoin got his third of the game to leave it 0-10 to 0-8 after 34 minutes, Galway took over from there with Mulryan and Walsh hitting points and then Damien Comer blasting home a goal after Varley had collected a shot from Mulryan and set him up.

Paul Varley and corner-back David Cunnane quickly added points as Galway cruised 1-14 to 0-8 in front after 42 minutes. Remarkably, they did not score again.

Alan Cadogan kickstarted the Cork revival with a point and then Hurley fired home a goal after 44 minutes to leave it 1-14 to 1-9.

Cathal Vaughan and MacEoin then fired over points and suddenly there was just a goal between them with 13 minutes left.

Cork piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but could not find a way through as the Tribesmen held on for victory at the end of a gripping game.

Scorers – Galway: S Walsh (4f), I Burke 0-4 each, C Mulryan 0-3, D Comer 1-0, A Varley, P Varley, B Cunnane 0-1 each. Cork: B Hurley 1-4 (1f), D MacEoin 0-4 (3f), D Cahalane (1'45), C Vaughan, A Cadogan 0-1 each.

Galway: T Healy; E Walsh, J Shaughnessy, B Cunnane; M Loughnane, D Burke, P Varley; T Flynn, F Ó Curraoin; C Mulryan, S Moran, D Comer; S Walsh, A Varley, I Burke. Subs: C Rabitte for Moran (47), J Healy for T Healy (49), P Ezergalis for Cunnane (54), G Kelly for P Varley (59), S Maughan for I Burke (59).

Cork: D Hanrahan; C Dorman, D Cahalane, A Cronin; B O'Driscoll, T Tansey, J Wall; S Kiely, I Maguire; A Cadogan, M Sugrue, J O'Rourke; D MacEoin, B Hurley, L Connolly. Subs: J Burns for Kiely (36), C Vaughan for Sugrue (39), TJ Brosnan for Wall (42), K Hallissey for Cadagon (57).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

Irish Independent

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