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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 21 February, 2020

Rebels reel in Dubs to complete amazing turnaround and claim All-Ireland U20 title

The Rebels were nine points behind at one stage in the first half of the championship decider.

Cork's Blake Murphy celebrates scoring a goal.
Cork's Blake Murphy celebrates scoring a goal.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Cork 3-16

Dublin 1-14

MARK CRONIN INSPIRED Cork to a memorable comeback victory against Dublin to see them claim their first All-Ireland football title since 2009 at the U20/U21 grade.

Dublin had raced into a nine-point lead before Cork opened their account with Ciarán Archer on target, but three goals in five minutes from Cork lifted their hopes before their classy last 20 minutes of points scoring saw them to a remarkable victory at O’Moore Park.

Dublin lost Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne on a black card before they had Karl Lynch Bissett sent off for a second yellow card eight minutes from time, but Cork were worthy winners.

Dublin had the advantage of a very strong wind at their back in the first half and they wasted little time in using the elements when James Doran pointed after 23 seconds following a driving run from Donal Ryan straight from the throw in.

That was just the start of the scoring from a Dublin point of view and by the 12th minute they were 1-6 to 0-0 ahead, with four of their six forwards all scoring from play in that spell. The scores of Brian O’Leary and Ross McGarry stood out in that spell of Dublin dominance.

The goal was a real freak score in the 12th minute. McGarry had just kicked a wides for the Dub and Josh O’Keeffe tried to link with Peter O’Driscoll for a short kick out, but his handling let him down. Archer robbed possession and shot off the ground from a tight angle, a shot that eventually found the net through the legs of the Cork goalkeeper.

Cork were totally overwhelmed at that stage and they badly needed a score, but what they got was three goals in a stunning five-minute spell. The first was volleyed to the net by Blake Murphy following some excellent work along the endline by Cronin in the 13th minute, after which Cronin kicked a free for Cork.

Goal number two was finished to the net by Cronin from a tight angle after Cathal O’Mahony’s shot dropped shot, while their third in the 18th minute was rattled to the net at the second attempt by Colm O’Callaghan, which levelled the game at 1-7 to 3-1.

Dublin managed to keep their noses in front thanks to points from Archer, Ryan and Brian O’Leary, but Cork finished the first half with some real determination as Damian Gore, O’Mahony and Daniel O’Connell scored unanswered points to give them a half-time lead of 3-6 to 1-10.

Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne and Brian Hartnett Dublin's Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne and Cork's Brian Hartnett challenge for a high ball. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

It took Dublin six minutes to level the game after the restart thanks to an Archer free and Brian O’Leary’s third point, but they also left a few chances unclaimed; Archer twice missed the target.

A Cronin free was Cork’s first score of the half in the 40th minute, but substitute Jack Murphy and O’Mahony added another two in as many minutes to push them three clear for the first time.

The loss of Ó Cofaigh Byrne to a black card with 17 minutes remaining was a blow to Dublin’s comeback hopes, but after a good Blake Murphy point for Cork they hit back through a cool finish from Archer.

It was then Damian Gore’s turn to hit a hot spell and his three points between the 46th and 50th minutes put Cork 3-14 to 1-13 ahead, while Fionn Herlihy underlined the impact of the Cork bench with a late score.

Scorers for Cork: Mark Cronin 1-3 (2f), Blake Murphy 1-2, Damien Gore 0-4, Cathal O’Mahony 0-4 (3f), Colm O’Callaghan 1-0, Daniel O’Connell 0-1, Jack Murphy 0-1, Fionn Herlihy 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: Ciaran Archer 1-5 (3f), Brian O’Leary 0-3, Ross McGarry 0-2 (1f), James Doran 0-2, Donal Lynch 0-1, David Lacey 0-1


1 Josh O’ Keeffe (Newmarket)

2 Michael Mahoney (Knocknagree)
3 Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty) 
4 Paul Ring (Aghabullogue) 
6 Sean Meehan (Kiskeam) 
7 Peter O’ Driscoll (Ilen Rovers) (c)

5 Gearoid O’ Donovan (Newcestown) 

 8 Brian Hartnett (Douglas) 

9 Daniel O’ Connell (Kanturk) 

 10 Colm Barrett (St Finbarr’s) 

11 Blake Murphy (St Vincent’s) 
12 Colm O’ Callaghan (Eire Óg)

 13 Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers) 

14 Cathal O’Mahony (Mitchelstown) 

15 Damien Gore (Kilmacabea) 


18 Jack Murphy (Eire Óg) for Barrett (38),

23 Mark Hodnett (Carbery Rangers) for O’Callaghan (40),

20 Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys) for B Murphy (50),

17 Jack McCarthy (Carrigaline) for O’Donovan (56),

21 Eanna O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for Gore (62),

19 Shane Hickey (Millstreet) for Ring (62).



1 David O’Hanlon (Na Fianna) 

2 Darren Maher (St Patrick’s Donabate)
3 Daire Newcombe (Lucan Sarsfields)
4 Eoin O’Dea (Na Fianna)

5 Kieran Kennedy (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
6 Neil Matthews (Erin’s Isle)
7 Seán Lambe (St Vincent’s)

8 Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne (Cuala)
9 Donal Ryan (Na Fianna) 

10 Niall O’Leary (Kilmacud Crokes)
11 Karl Lynch Bissett (Naomh Mearnóg)
12 James Doran (Na Fianna)

13 Brian O’Leary (Na Fianna) 
14 Ciarán Archer (St Maurs)
15 Ross McGarry (Ballyboden St Enda’s)


20 David Lacey (Na Fianna) for N O’Leary (38),

22 Harry Ladd (Lucan Sarsfields) for Ó Cofaigh Byrne (43, black card),
17 Aaron Lynch (St Sylvester’s) for Maher (53).

Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).

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About the author:

Declan Rooney

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