Saturday 24 March 2018

O’Brien masterclass propels Cork to final

Cork 0-21 Galway 0-17

Cork's Peter O'Brien hit 13 points
Cork's Peter O'Brien hit 13 points

Declan Rooney

Peter O’Brien hit 11 second-half points as Cork recovered from a seven-point deficit before the break to reach the All-Ireland intermediate final against Wexford.

Galway looked to be in cruise control as Johnny Kelly’s wind-assisted side — made up entirely from the county’s under 21 panel — dominated the Rebels in the first half.

But O’Brien came into his own after the resumption and soon added a quick free to his first-half tally of two points to put just five points between the sides.

Galway’s inexperienced outfit continued to tag on scores until a seven-minute spell between the 42nd and 49th minutes when Cork hit seven of the eight points.

O’Brien hit six of those scores, and went on to land the last four of the game to seal victory. As this was the Tribesmen’s first game in either the intermediate or under 21 championships this year, Galway manager Kelly chose to give his under 21s a run-out as preparation for their All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford in four weeks.

They raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, with Eanna Burke and Adrian Tuohy dominant at midfield, but Cork battled well and two points from Michael Walsh and another from Colm Spillane kept them in touch as they trailed 0-12 to 0-6 at the interval. Rebels boss Liam Hayes switched John Cronin out to midfield and did away with a two-man inside line at the break, and it had an immediate impact as they began to gain the upper hand.

Cork took the lead for the first time after 48 minutes and although Shane Maloney levelled immediately, O’Brien’s blistering finish to the game saw Cork into the final.

Scorers — Cork: P O’Brien 0-13 (7f), M Walsh 0-3, C Murphy, C Spillane 0-2 each, J Cronin 0-1.

Galway: S Maloney 0-4 (3f, 1 ’65), D Higgins 0-3 (3f), R O’Meara, D Dolan, B Molloy, A Tuohy 0-2 each, E Burke, J Carr 0-1 each.

Cork: R Cunningham; B O’Sullivan, A Dennehy,

J O’Callaghan; C Barry, T Healy, C Murphy;

N Kelly, M Walsh; C Spillane, P O’Brien,

M O’Sullivan; D Drake, J Cronin, C Casey. Subs: J Sheehan for Kelly (22), A Spillane for Drake (41), M Kennefick for M O’Sullivan (55),

M Sugrue for Casey (60).

Galway: S Mannion; D O’Donoghue, J Hanbury, B Keane; S Cooney, D Higgins, D Burke; E Burke, A Tuohy; C Keane, J Carr, D Dolan; D Maloney,

R O’Meara, B Molloy. Subs: B Lane for Keane (34), J Kennedy for Carr (39), O Teagle for O’Meara (51).

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).

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