Thursday 22 August 2019

O'Connell the driving force as Cork book place in final

Cork 1-16  Kilkenny 0-13

Ger Collins of Cork in action against Ciarán Brennan of Kilkenny. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Ger Collins of Cork in action against Ciarán Brennan of Kilkenny. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

This time last year Cork U-20 hurlers were Munster champions but lost to Tipperary in the second meeting of the sides in the All-Ireland final. This time their manager Denis Ring is determined that his side will go one step better.

Defeat to Tipperary in this year's Munster final looked unlikely until Jake Morris's added-time goal delivered a cruel defeat, but Cork powered into the U-20 All-Ireland final with a classy performance against Kilkenny.

Evan Shefflin of Kilkenny in action against Simon Kennefick of Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Evan Shefflin of Kilkenny in action against Simon Kennefick of Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tommy O'Connell was their first-half inspiration as his goal and general play helped the Rebels into a narrow lead, but despite trailing after the restart as Eoin Cody added to his tally from frees, O'Connell hit four points in six minutes to set them towards victory.

Driven by some poor reviews close to home following their Munster final loss, Cork didn't take a backward step against the Leinster champions.

"To be honest, we were hurt a bit by some of the things that were said - that Cork were too soft. When your own crowd are saying it you'd get worried," said Ring.

Levelled

"From the off we were conscious that that wasn't going to be an accusation that would be levelled at anyone today. Even in the warm-up there was some different stuff went into that to cater for it.

Eoin Cody of Kilkenny in action against Conor O'Callaghan of Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Eoin Cody of Kilkenny in action against Conor O'Callaghan of Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

"Generally in the aerial battle and breaking ball is where the hunger is most evident, and I think we won the lion's share of those. We had wides and things, we were disappointed with those, there were aspects of our performance we weren't happy with, but we kept the scoreboard ticking over."

Despite only shooting one point from play in the opening half, Cork were good value for their 1-6 to 0-8 lead. With the wind at their backs Kilkenny began to show their talents in the second quarter when Evan Shefflin, Aaron Brennan and Niall Brassil all pointed from open play.

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An excellent score from Conor Heary helped Kilkenny draw level after the break, but despite firing 12 wides in total, Cork were worthy winners.

Scorers - Cork: T O'Connell 1-10 (6f, 2'65), R Walsh, B Turnbull (2f) 0-2 each, S O'Regan, S Kennefick 0-1 each. Kilkenny: E Cody 0-6 (5f), N Brassil 0-4 (2f), E Shefflin 0-1, A Brennan, C Heary 0-1 each.

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 (ht), C Brennan for Ryan (41), J Molloy for Ryan (45).

Ref - J Murphy (Limerick).

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