Merciless Cork thrash Wexford to reach Under-21 hurling final
O’Mahony’s brace sets up 22-point win and sends Rebels to first U-21 final since 1998
Shane Kingston scores a point for Cork in their Under-21 final win over Wexford. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Cork 3-26 Wexford 0-13
Exactly two decades on from their last All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final appearance, Cork are back in the underage decider.
And if the current team which swept to victory at Nowlan Park against an outclassed Wexford produces the amount of icons that team of ‘98 did - Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Joe Deane and Donal Óg Cusack - it might even have been worth the wait.
Powered on by an all-senior midfield of Darragh Fitzgibbon and All-Star Mark Coleman the young Rebels roared to a 22-point success.
Their reward is a clash with Galway or Tipperary, who meet in the second semi-final on Wednesday, in the final on the last weekend of August.
Senior star Shane Kingston weighed in with four points too though it was full-forward Tim O’Mahony who laid the platform for the big win with two early goals.
He struck sixth and ninth-minute goals to open up a six-point gap and by half-time the Munster champions led by an ominous 11 points, 2-14 to 0-9.
Liam Healy struck Cork’s third goal in the 40th minute to all but kill off a Wexford side minus the talents of senior full-forward Rory O’Connor due to injury.
The centre-forward and free-taker hit eight points and enjoyed a strong game before being carried off with eight minutes to go.
Boss Denis Ring said the early signs are positive regarding Dalton though admitted they won’t know about his availability for the final until scans take place.
Cork: G Collins; D Lowney, E Murphy, N O’Leary; J Cashman, G Mellerick, B Hennessy; M Coleman, D Fitzgibbon; R O’Flynn, D Dalton (0-8, 6f), S Kingston (0-4); L Healy (1-1), T O’Mahony (2-2), J O’Connor (0-4). Subs: C Cahalane (0-4) for Mellerick 36, A Myers (0-2, 2f) for Dalton 52, D Connery for Fitzgibbon 55, C O’Leary (0-1) for Kingston 59, C O’Callaghan for Coleman 60.
Wexford: J Cushe; S Reck, D Byrne, E Molloy; C Firman, I Carthy, R White (0-2); A Maddock (0-2), G Molloy; O Foley, D Reck (0-2), L Stafford; M Dwyer, R Higgins, S Casey (0-6, 3f, 1 sl). Subs: S O’Gorman for S Reck 25, D Codd for Stafford h/t, C Hearne (0-1) for Foley ht, E Kelly for Higgins 41, J Donohoe for Byrne 46.
Referee: A Kelly (Galway).