Tuesday 20 August 2019

Cork book place in All-Ireland final as Tommy O'Connell produces masterclass to gun down Kilkenny

Cork 1-16 Kilkenny 0-13

Cork players and supporters celebrate after the Bord Gáis GAA Hurling All-Ireland U20 Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Cork at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise, Laois. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Cork players and supporters celebrate after the Bord Gáis GAA Hurling All-Ireland U20 Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Cork at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise, Laois. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Cork haven't won an underage hurling All-Ireland since 2001, but they will face either Tipperary or Wexford in this year's Bord Gáis Energy U-20 hurling final after a masterclass from Tommy O'Connell.

O'Connell's first-half goal put Cork ahead at the break, and despite Eoin Cody's frees briefly giving DJ Carey's Kilkenny the lead, seven second-half points from the Midleton man hauled Cork over the line.

Kilkenny had a strong breeze behind them in the opening period, but it was the Munster runners-up that got off to the brighter start. Kilkenny had their chances though and three early wides didn't help their tally, while at the other end frees from O'Connell and Brian Turnbull were followed by a Shane O'Regan point.

Kilkenny must have been disappointed with their sluggish start, but Cody finally got them up and running after 13 minutes, and from that point they matched Cork all the way. Cody's score was the first of three in a row as they closed the gap to a point, but crucially O'Connell's 17th minute shot only crept over the line after Mason's efforts to save.

With Adrian Mullen finally working his way into the game Kilkenny finished the first-half on a high with five of the last seven points. David Blanchfield was instrumental in a couple of those scores with powerful running from defence, while some tight defence from SJ Carey's side mean the deficit was down to one at the break, 1-6 to 0-8.

After the restart it was Cork's turn to struggle with their shooting and the first two points of the half went Kilkenny's way, with Cody' free after 33 minutes giving them their first lead of the game.

But in O'Connell Cork had the game's outstanding performer. He hit two in a row before Cody replied, but another two on the bounce from O'Connell put Cork ahead before Ryan Walsh and O'Connell finished the job.

Scorers – Cork: T O'Connell 1-10 (6f, 2'65), B Turnbull 0-2 (2f),R Walsh 0-2, S O'Regan 0-1, S Kennefick 0-1

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Kilkenny: E Cody 0-6 (5f), N Brassil 0-4 (2f), E Shefflin 0-1, A Brennan 0-1, C Heary 0-1

Cork: G Collins; C O'Callaghan, J Keating (c), E Roche; S O'Leary Hayes, G Millerick, R Downey; R Walsh, D Connery; T O'Connell, B Roche, S Twomey; B Turnbull, S O'Regan, P Power.

Subs: S Kennefick for Connery (42), E Sheehan for Connery (45), B Murphy for O'Regan (60), C Hanifin for Twomey (63), J Copps for O'Callaghan (65).

Kilkenny: D Mason; J Brennan, C Flynn, M Butler; D Blanchfield, M Carey, C Heary; C Murphy, E Shefflin (c); N Brassil, A Brennan, A Mullen; S Ryan, E O'Shea, E Cody.

Subs: S Donnelly for Brennan (h-t), C Brennan for Ryan (41), J Molloy for Ryan (45),

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).

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