Sunday 22 September 2019

'Dream come true' for Morgan as Tipp add U-20 crown to senior glory

Tipperary 5-17 Cork 1-18, Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U-20 HC final

Tipperary captain Craig Morgan lifts the James Nowlan Cup following the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U20 HC final victory against Cork in Limerick. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Tipperary captain Craig Morgan lifts the James Nowlan Cup following the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U20 HC final victory against Cork in Limerick. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Tipperary's summer concluded with a magnificent victory over Cork to become the first winners of the All-Ireland U-20 hurling crown.

The success capped a brilliant week for the Premier County and, having put one arch rival to the sword in the senior final, they blitzed another with a shower of early goals to send their fans in the crowd of 18,652 into raptures at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.

Just like their senior victory over Kilkenny, goals were decisive again and Billy Seymour's finish after just 19 seconds gave them the perfect platform.

Andrew Ormond, Seymour and Jerome Cahill quickly added further goals and Tipperary were out of sight before Cork had a chance to get into the game.

Cahill was one of a trio, including Jake Morris and Paddy Cadell, who claimed senior medals in Croke Park.

An awesome week for them but especially for Tipperary U-20 captain Craig Morgan, as the Kilraune MacDonaghs defender was able to watch from the other end as the goals flew in.

Billy Seymour shoots to score Tipperary's first goal. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Billy Seymour shoots to score Tipperary's first goal. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"It gives us a great lift watching it from the other end," said Morgan.

"Four goals going in in the first 10 minutes. It gave us a great lift to go back, win the ball and send it up for another goal.

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"We wanted to start the match, we were going to take our man on early and go for the jugular."

This was the first All-Ireland U-20 championship but Tipperary had claimed the last ever U-21 title when they beat Cork last summer.

Cork's Shane O'Regan keeps possession up against Eoghan Connolly of Tipperary. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Cork's Shane O'Regan keeps possession up against Eoghan Connolly of Tipperary. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The two counties had struck up a massive rivalry. This was their fourth meeting in two years in U-21 and U-20 levels, with Cork's only success coming in the 2018 Munster final.

They were on the wrong side of the result in the provincial final this time and Liam Cahill's side had plenty of confidence on the back of a huge 8-16 to 1-15 victory over Wexford.

Denis Ring's men had to be rock solid but they trailed 4-1 to 0-4 early and there was no way back, even though Tommy O'Connell did goal in the 46th minute.

"We knew we had to stay on top otherwise we could have lost. They came back at us in the second half and we dealt with them," said Morgan.

Tipperary's Jerome Cahill in action against Tommy O'Connell, right, and Eoin Roche of Cork. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Tipperary's Jerome Cahill in action against Tommy O'Connell, right, and Eoin Roche of Cork. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

"We are ecstatic. We had a great performance as well which makes it even better.

"We weren't really happy beforehand that we hadn't played to our potential but against Cork we brought it.

"To represent your club and captain Tipperary, it is a dream come true."

Cork's last underage All-Ireland came 18 years ago when they won the minor crown. It's a long barren spell and Ring knew letting Tipperary score early was decisive.

"It is very hard to get back from that," said Ring.

"They have a serious set of forwards.

"Three of them had Celtic Crosses from last week. That probably gave them a lot of confidence.

"They go at teams and they ask questions. If you are not ready as a defence you will suffer and that happened."

Scorers - Tipperary: B Seymour 2-5 (1 sl); J Morris 0-8 (1 '65, 3f); A Ormond 1-2; J Cahill 1-1, C Bourke 1-0, C Bowe 0-1. Cork: B Turnbull 0-8 (7f); T O'Connell 1-2 (1 '65, 1f); D Connery (1f), R Walsh 0-2 each, C O'Callaghan, B Roche, S O'Regan, R Downey 0-1 each.

Tipperary - A Browne 7; C Morgan 8, E Connolly 7, P Cadell 8; N Heffernan 7, C McCarthy 8, B O'Mara 8; C Connolly 8, J Ryan 8; G O'Connor 7, J Cahill 9, J Morris 9; C Bowe 7, A Ormond 8, B Seymour 9. Subs: S Hayes 7 for O'Connor (36), K O'Kelly 7 for Ormond (49), J Fogarty 6 for Bowe (53), C Bourke 7 for Ryan (58), M Purcell 6 for C Connolly (64).

Cork - G Collins 6; J Keating 6, E Roche 7, S O'Leary Hayes 6; G Millerick 6, C O'Callaghan 6, R Downey 7; D Connery 7, R Walsh 7; S Kennefick 6, T O'Connell 6, B Roche 7; B Turnbull 8, S O'Regan 7, S Twomey 6. Subs: E Sheehan 7 for Kennefick (30), J Copps 6 for Keating (40), B Murphy 6 for Connery (41), P Power 6 for Walsh (54).

Ref - L Gordon (Galway)

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