O'Mahony uncorks vintage hurling in quest for title
Cork 3-26 Wexford 0-13
Cork won't be looking at the 20-year gap since their last All-Ireland U-21 hurling title when they contest the final later this month because it means nothing to the generation of today, according to their manager, Denis Ring.
Cork produced a hugely impressive display, shooting 29 scores while conceding modestly and offering no goal scoring chances to the opposition when seeing off the somewhat disappointing challenge of Wexford in the semi-final in Nowlan Park on Saturday.
"We played well. There was good movement, pace and scoring in our attack, and the defence was solid," Ring said after what was a one-sided affair.
"This crowd are focused on the game. They're not hung up on what happened last year or 10 years ago or 20 years ago because it's irrelevant to them," he added.
Cork had concerns afterwards about driving centre-forward, Declan Dalton, who was stretchered off with a knee injury in the 52nd minute. Ring remained hopeful that the Fr O'Neill's clubman, who he described as "one of the best free takers in the country", could be okay.
"Initially it looked maybe worse than what it was," Ring explained after the game. "He seems to be a little bit happier about it. The medical team are happier about it. But look, until you get a scan really you don't know."
Man of the match in Nowlan Park was stylish full-forward Tim O'Mahony, who put a mountain in front of Wexford when shooting two goals during a two-minute spell in the first half and then he made the clinching goal for Liam Healy in the 39th minute.
The Newtownshandrum man lifted the ball with his hurley over the head of a would-be-tackler into Healy's path, and the latter had the simple task of beating exposed goalie, Jack Cushe, as he shot Cork into a winning lead of 3-17 to 0-10.
O'Mahony bagged goals in the sixth and eight minutes to edge Cork 2-2 to 0-2 clear and they never looked back after that. By half-time they were 2-14 to 0-9 clear, with wing-forward, Robbie O'Flynn, the only attacker who didn't register.
Declan Dalton was a real force during that half as a back-up to O'Mahony, and he added to the gains after the rest along with Shane Kingston (2) as Wexford were given no chance to get back into the game. Healy's goal then signed and sealed the issue.
"These guys have put in the work," Ring insisted. "They don't shy away from the hard work. They are focussed and they know they have work to do before the final."
SCORERS - Cork: T O'Mahony 2-2, D Dalton 0-8 (6f), L Healy 1-1, J O'Connor, S Kingston, C Cahalane 0-4 each, A Myers 0-2 (2f), J Cashman 0-1. Wexford: S Casey 0-6 (3f), A Maddock, R White, D Reck 0-2 each, C Hearne 0-1.
CORK - G Collins; D Lowney, G Mellerick, N O'Leary; E Murphy, M Coleman, B. Hennessy; J Cashman, D Fitzgibbon; R O'Flynn, D Dalton, S Kingston; L Healy, T O'Mahony, J O'Connor. Subs: C Cahalane for G Mellerick (35), A Myers for D Dalton (inj 52), C O'Leary for S Kingston (58t), C O'Callaghan for M Coleman (59).
WEXFORD - J Cushe; S Reck, D Byrnee, E Molloy; C Firman, I Carthy, R White; A Maddock, G Molloy; O Foley, D Reck, L Stafford; M Dwyer, R Higgins, S Casey. Subs: S O'Gorman for S Reck (24), D Codd for L Stafford (ht), C Hearne for O Foley (ht), E Kelly for R Higgins (40), J Donohoe for D Byrne (45).
REF - A Kelly (Galway).