Free-scoring Cork minors have the game to end Galway’s run as champions

Cork have not won title since since 2001 when captained by Tomás O’Leary

All-Ireland minor hurling final: Cork v Galway, Semple Stadium, Saturday, 7.15pm – Live TG4

Cork’s only clean sweep of the three All-Ireland titles in 1970 included a minor final win over Galway and Rebel fans will be hoping history repeats itself and that they can take the second step to a treble on Saturday evening when they take on the Tribesmen at Semple Stadium in Thurles.

In the process, Cork will be bidding to bridge the longest gap without a minor crown, having not tasted success in the grade since former Ireland and Munster scrumhalf Tomás O’Leary skippered them to success in 2001.

Cork will go into this final boosted by their under-20 side securing a second All-Ireland title in that grade this summer by defeating Galway with a powerful display in Thurles on Wednesday night.

Cork manager Noel Furlong said his minor side, who won their three games in Munster by an average of 20 points with a superb full-forward line of Eoin O'Leary, Jack Leahy and William Buckley leading the way, are hopeful of tapping into the feelgood spirit in the county at the moment as they bid for three All-Ireland titles in five days.

“There is a good vibe. Everyone at the moment is proud to be representing Cork and it’s a great honour for our lads to be part of that,” said Furlong.

Galway manager Brian Hanley, the former Athenry midfielder and Westmeath senior manager, is hoping his charges are peaking at the right time and will put it up to a fancied Cork side who defeated the Tribesmen heavily in a challenge match in Limerick earlier this summer.

“They were excellent last week in the semi-final against Kilkenny and we are just looking to get another good performance out of them,” said Hanley.

He has named an unchanged side from that which beat Kilkenny by 0-23 to 1-12, with the late Tony Keady's son, Anthony Keady, starting on the bench after impressing when introduced in the second half of the semi-final.

Cork, meanwhile, have made one change with David Cremin coming in for Tadhg O’Connell at left half forward.

“There is big pressure on this Cork team to deliver. They are expected to perform and they are, like our lads, only 17-years-old. There’s nothing expected of our lads, some would say we are in bonus territory, and we are going to have to ask big questions of them. There’s no pressure on our lads, they’ll go out and give the best performance they can and see from there.”

It took Galway 55 years to win their first All-Ireland minor title in 1983 but they have dominated the competition in the past two decades or so. This is their 17th final in 23 years. They won 11 of those including the last four, but ousting a Cork side who have demolished all before them this summer might bring that record run of titles to an end.

CORK: P O'Sullivan; D O'Sullivan, K Lyons, J Byrne; J Dwyer, B O'Connor, T Wilk; M Finn, C Tobin; D Healy, B Nyhan, D Cremin; E O'Leary, J Leahy, W Buckley.

Subs: D Costine, S Kennedy, K Wallace, J O'Brien, T O'Connell, O O'Regan, A Walsh, R O'Sullivan, R Sheahan.

GALWAY: D Walsh; M Tarpey, T Leen, J O'Connor; D Dunne, D Davoren, N Gill; J Ryan, C Lawless; D Shaughnessy, M Power, R Burke; J Cosgrove, D Neary, O Lohan.

Subs: D Fahy, C Whelan, C Headd, S Fitzpatrick, A Keady, T Nolan, S Hansberry, M O'Connor, C Donohue.

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