Cork hold off Dublin charge to land first U20 hurling title in 22 years

Rebels boss Pat Ryan praises his side’s fast start despite not playing since December

 

Cork 2-19 Dublin 1-18

A strong start was key as Cork had to withstand a late Dublin revival to take victory in the 2020 Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U20HC final at UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday evening.

A burst of 1-4 without replay in the opening eight minutes, the goal coming from Seán Twomey, put the Rebels into a lead that would never be relinquished, but was subjected to pressure as Dublin fought back.

It meant the ending of a 22-year drought for Cork and manager Pat Ryan paid tribute to the efforts of his team.

“Every team tries to have a good start,” he said. “Our lads are very sharp and we got a run on them at the start, I thought we should have been a few more up but we stuck in there.

“We probably feel there was more in the lads, we probably got a bit of white-line fever towards the end, the same thing happened against Tipperary.

“In fairness to Dublin, they came at us in waves as well – they’re a very good side, and we knew they were a very good side, so we’re delighted to get the win, to get the victory.

“They’ve been the best players we’ve had at underage level for the last 10, 15 years, and they deserved that victory today.”

Cork – who hadn’t played since beating Tipp in the Munster final on December 23rd – led by 1-11 to 0-7 at half-time with Shane Barrett, Colin O’Brien and Brian Roche to the fore but Liam Murphy and Micheál Murphy helped Dublin to draw closer during the third quarter.

They were back to within four points just after the second-half water-break but Cork looked to have made a decisive surge as Pádraig Power got their second goal and they moved 10 ahead.

Dublin didn’t give up and sub Luke McDwyer netted at the end of the 60 minutes to leave four in it again but Cork held out.

“We know what it’s like to win an All-Ireland,” Ryan said, “that connection is there and we know the bond that brings to players – there’s a great bond among those players anyway, and we’re thrilled for them.

“It takes the monkey off our back a small bit going forward. It’s still only under-20 at the same time and we’re used to winning senior All-Irelands, but as I say it takes the monkey off our back a small bit.”

Dublin manager Paul O’Brien paid tribute to the victors.

“In fairness to Cork, for a team that hadn’t played a championship match in six months or whatever,” he said, “they came out with all guns blazing, and that was the difference in the end, the way they start the game.

“And fair play to them, they brought a massive intensity to the game. They were a very well-prepared team in fairness to them, and they won Munster.

“They performed, they were well set up, so fair play to them.”

CORK: E Davis; C O’Callaghan, E Roche, A Walsh Barry; D Connery (0-3, two frees), C Joyce, D O’Leary; B Roche, T O’Connell (0-2); D Flynn (0-2), S Barrett (0-3), S Twomey (1-0); Colin O’Brien (0-2, one s/l), P Power (1-1), A Connolly (0-3, two frees).

Subs: J Cahalane (0-1) for Colin O’Brien (39 mins), E Carey for Twomey (41), B Hayes (0-2) for Connolly (49), S O’Regan for Flynn (53), Cormac O’Brien for Barrett (58)

DUBLIN: E Gibbons (0-2, two frees); A Murphy, A Dunphy, I Ó hEither; E O’Donnell, K Burke, T Kinnane; D Power (0-1), M Sweeney; D McBride, M Murphy (0-3), L Gannon; D Purcell (0-4), K Desmond (0-2), L Murphy (0-6, three frees).

Subs: D Leavy for O’Donnell (39), C Foley for Sweeney (46), L McDwyer (1-0) for McBride (48), B Sheehy for Kinnane (55), P Linehan for Power (56).

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).

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