Cork withstand Limerick comeback to retain their U-20 crown

Late points from Flynn and Cunningham secure the spoils for young Rebels

Cork’s Pádraig Power gets his shot away despite the best efforts of Limerick’s  Chris Thomas during the Munser U-20 final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Cork’s Pádraig Power gets his shot away despite the best efforts of Limerick’s Chris Thomas during the Munser U-20 final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Cork 1-26 Limerick 1-24

Cork withstood a fierce Limerick rally to retain their Munster U20 hurling title at windswept Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Wednesday evening and now meet Galway in the All-Ireland final.

The champions led by six points after 52 minutes with the strong wind at their backs, but a Diarmaid Hegarty goal inspired Limerick to restore parity just before the hour through Cathal O’Neill’s free-taking.

But, Cork prevailed in six minutes’ additional time with man-of-the-match Darragh Flynn and substitute Ben Cunningham nailing the winning points.

Cork always looked the more likely side, but squandered a number of goalscoring opportunities in the second half to make the game safe.

The sides were level seven times in the first half before Cork hit four of the last five points of the period to lead by 1-13 to 0-14 at the interval.

They pounced for an important goal after only two minutes, when dual player Brian Hayes picked out Pádraig Power with a diagonal pass and his pace took him beyond the defence to score.

Limerick relied on O’Neill’s free-taking, striking nine in the half, while Flynn was equally efficient against the wind with six for Cork.

Hayes, Power and Jack Cahalane, the other U20 footballer, contributed impressive points as Cork posted a high tally.

All of Cork’s 13 second-half points came from play to illustrate their accuracy across the forward line.

CORK: C Wilson; E Downey, D O’Leary, C O’Brien, captain; E Twomey, C Joyce, K Moynihan; S Quirke, B O’Sullivan (0-1); D Flynn (0-12, six frees), D Hogan, B Hayes (0-2); R Cotter (0-2), P Power (1-5), J Cahalane (0-2). Subs: B Cunningham (0-2) for Hogan 42 mins, C O’Donovan for O’Leary injured 49, M Mullins for O’Sullivan 51 mins, L Horgan for Cotter 52 mins.

LIMERICK: Conor O’Neill; C Thomas, P Harnett, M Keane; E McEvoy, C Coughlan, C Ryan; J Quilty, captain, C Downes; D Hegarty (1-3), Cathal O’Neill (0-16, 15 frees), A English (0-2); B Nix (0-1), A O’Connor (0-2), R Fox. Subs: E Hurley for Ryan injured 32 mins, F O’Connor for Keane 40 mins, P Kirby for Downes 43 mins, E Stokes for Fox 52 mins.

Referee: K Jordan (Tipperary)

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