Ruthless Rebels cut loose to seal treble
Cork 1-17 Tipperary 0-9
Cadbury Munster U-21 football final
JOHN Cleary's Rebels finished with a flourish at Semple Stadium as they romped to a third straight provincial title at this grade – with five players present for them all.
Cork will now meet Ulster champions Cavan in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday week. But they had to work hard for last night's victory in Thurles, as Mark Sugrue's second-half goal ended dogged home resistance.
Tipperary, chasing a second Munster U-21 title in four seasons, trailed by 0-10 to 0-8 when Sugrue bagged the only goal of the game.
Full-forward Brian Hurley and corner-forward Luke Connolly were involved in the build-up before Sugrue finished low past Gearoid Slattery. And Cork ran riot after that with a flurry of late scores, and Dan McEoin coming close to a second goal.
This was Cork's 24th Munster U-21 football title but Tipp made quite a fist of it for long spells in front of 1,775 spectators.
At half-time, Tipp were 0-5 to 0-4 in front, having fought back from a two-point deficit with a run of three unanswered points. Jason Lonergan kicked Tipp's first point from play in the 27th minute, his first touch after coming on to replace Bill Maher.
And midfielder Steven O'Brien, one of nine Tipp players who started in the 2011 All-Ireland minor final, booted an equaliser a minute later.
In the second minute of stoppage-time, Liam McGrath popped over his third, and best, free of the half to hand Tipp a slender interval advantage.
Having played with the breeze from the start, Tipp needed every score that they could register.
They had broken the deadlock through McGrath in the fifth minute before Shane Leahy spurned a decent goal chance when he blazed wide after Maher picked him out with a beautiful pass.
Cork responded with points from Alan Cadogan and Sugrue before McGrath levelled matters in the 17th minute, after Michael Quinlivan was hauled down by Cork skipper Damien Cahalane.
At the other end, Brian Hurley's marauding run was halted by Seamus Kennedy seven minutes later. Hurley kicked the free himself and Kennedy, Tipperary's captain, earned a yellow card.
Cork were now enjoying their best spell of the first half and looked capable of breaking the line more easily than Tipp, who were ponderous around the middle third at times and struggling with a lack of support runners.
Corner-back Tom Clancy bombed forward to kick a 24th-minute point as the Rebels moved 0-4 to 0-2 clear. But Tipp, who registered five first-half wides, dug in and finished the half well to lead by the minimum at the break.
Cadogan and McGrath traded the opening two points of the second half before Cork hit five in a row to move 0-10 to 0-6 in front.
Tipp responded with a brace of Leahy points and could have reclaimed the lead when sub Billy Hewitt bore down on goal in the 44th minute – but Cork goalkeeper David Hanrahan saved well at his near post, and the Rebels then found another gear to surge to glory.
SCORERS – Cork: M Sugrue 1-1, A Cadogan, L Connolly, B Hurley (2fs), D McEoin (1f) 0-3 each, T Clancy, J Wall, K Hallissey, T Hegarty 0-1 each. Tipperary: L McGrath 0-5 (5fs), S Leahy 0-2, J Lonergan, S O'Brien 0-1 each.
CORK – D Hanrahan; A Cronin, D Cahalane, C Dorman; TJ Brosnan, T Clancy, J Wall; S Kiely, I Maguire; A Cadogan, M Sugrue, J O'Rourke; D McEoin, B Hurley, L Connolly. Subs: B O'Driscoll for Brosnan (39), K Hallissey for Sugrue (56), K Crowley for Wall (59), T Hegarty for McEoin (60), J Burns for Kiely (60+2).
TIPPERARY – G Slattery; N O'Sullivan, D Kearney, C O'Sullivan; N O'Meara, S Kennedy, P Dalton; S O'Brien, D Fitzell; B Maher, I Fahey, D Leahy; L McGrath, M Quinlivan, S Leahy. Subs: J Lonergan for Maher (35), P Quirke for Kearney (41), B Hewitt for Fahey (43), TJ Ryan for Quinlivan (51), M O'Sullivan for O'Meara (58).
Ref – R Moloney (Limerick).