Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
IT WAS HIGH drama to the very last drop before Cork made it five Munster U21 titles in six years and left Kerry still searching for their first provincial crown since 2008.
Cian Dorgan’s added-time point proved the difference in the end but at times Cork did their level best to lose this match, especially down the last 10-minute stretch as Kerry piled on the pressure in front of 4,683 enthralled spectators in Tralee.
Three goals kept the Rebels in contention as Kerry showed better accuracy from the boot, but both teams were guilty of some woeful shooting.
Cork’s third goal, which midfielder Sean White crashed in off the underside of the crossbar in the 47th minute, was a crucial moment, as Cork had been trailing by a point, 1-11 to 2-7, at that stage, but perhaps the more important contribution was Kieran Histon’s interception of Dara Roche’s goal-bound shot three minutes later.
It was that kind of game. End-to-end stuff, spattered with great scores, littered with mistakes and a healthy dose of drama.
It all looked so good for Kerry in the opening minute after Jack Savage and then Brian O Seanachain raised flags inside 45 seconds, but gradually Cork found their feet, especially around the middle where White and Sean O’Leary took a foothold.
By the sixth minute, Cork were level through Ryan Harkin and Brian Coakley (free), before the latter showed great feet to slip the ball past Eoghan O’Brien for Cork’s first goal.
By the 17th minute, only the goal separated them, 1-4 to 0-4, but after Savage converted a Kerry free, Sean Powter scored a superb goal to help Cork to a 2-4 to 0-7 half-time lead playing against a strong wind.
Points were exchanged early in the second half before a superb Dingle combination; Matthew Flaherty set up Mark O’Connor for a goal, and suddenly Kerry were into their stride.
By the 44th minute, the hosts were a point clear but then White cut through for the Rebels’ third goal and Cork sensed victory.
It wasn’t quite that simple as points from Micheal Burns, Savage (free) and Tony Brosnan made it 1-14 to 3-8, but with extra-time looming Dorgan proved Cork’s hero and Kerry’s damnation as the Rebels’ dominance in Munster continued.
Scorers for Kerry: Jack Savage (0-5, 4f), Dara Roche (0-3), Mark O’Connor (1-0), Killian Spillane (0-2), Brian O Seanachain (0-1), Micheal Burns (0-1), Eanna O Conchuir (0-1), Tony Brosnan (0-1).
Scorers for Cork: Brian Coakley (1-1, 0-1f), Sean White (1-0), Sean Powter (1-0), Michael Hurley (0-2), Ryan Harkin (0-2), Sean O’Donoghue (0-1f), Peter Kelleher (0-1), Cian Dorgan (0-1), Stephen Sherlock (0-1f).
1. Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill)
2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)
5. Matthew Flaherty (Dingle)
18. Tom (Leo) O’Sullivan (Dingle)
7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)
8. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle)
9. Mark O’Connor (Dingle)
10. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue)
11. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes)
12. Eanna Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht)
13. Dara Roche (Glenflesk)
14. Killian Spillane (Templenoe)
15. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys)
21. Greg Horan (Austin Stacks) for O Seanachain (HT)
19. David Foran (St Senans) for M O’Connor (42)
24. Cormac Coffey (Kerins O’Rahillys) for O Beaglaoich (43)
20. Jordan Kiely (Dr Crokes) for E O Conchuir (48)
17. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes) for Roche (55)
23. Fionán Clifford (Waterville) for White (56)
1. Anthony Casey (Kiskeam)
2. Michael McSweeney (Newcestown)
3. John Mullins (Eire Og)
4. Dylan Quinn (St Finbarrs)
5. Kevin Flahive (Douglas)
6. Stephen Cronin (Nemo Rangers)
7. Kieran Histon (Cobh)
8 Sean White (Clonakilty)
20. Sean O’Leary (Bantry Blues)
23. Sean Powter (Douglas)
11. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
12. Ryan Harkin (Mallow)
13. Brian Coakley (Carrigaline)
14. Peter Kelleher (Kilmichael)
15. Michael Hurley(Castlehaven)
21. Stephen Sherlock (St Finbarrs) for Powter (HT, inj)
22. Dan O’Duinin (Cill Na Matra) for O’Donoghue (46)
17. Cian Kiely (Ballincollig) for Flahive (52, black card)
10. Cian Dorgan (Ballincollig) for Coakley (52)
19. Eoin Lavers (Dohenys) for O’Leary (53)
Referee: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary)
The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!