Cork’s Jack Leahy and Offaly’s Patrick Taaffe. Ken Sutton/INPHO
young rebels

Cork clinch third All-Ireland U20 crown in four years after tough battle with Offaly

Micheál Mullins and Diarmuid Healy bagged crucial goals for Cork while Ben Cunningham scored nine points.

Cork 2-22

Offaly 3-13

Stephen Barry reports from FBD Semple Stadium

OFFALY’S RISE WILL continue but it was Cork whose underage resurgence captured a third All-Ireland U20 title in four years at a sun-splashed Semple Stadium.

It wasn’t long ago that Cork were 22 years without a national trophy at this grade but they will now hope this crop can help them end their senior drought, led by goal-scorers Micheál Mullins and Diarmuid Healy plus Ben Cunningham (0-9).

A Faithful public ravenous for hurling success dominated the 29,380 crowd but many of this young team will get two more cracks at this crown after their minor heartbreak last year.

Adam Screeney (0-9), one of those fresh out of minor, was bending this final to his will in the first half. He had Offaly’s first three points, two from frees he won himself.

Cork leapfrogged ahead in the ninth minute. Cunningham’s low drive was saved by Mark Troy but Healy capitalised on Sam Bourke spilling the sliotar to find the net.

Screeney tore another hole in the Cork defence a minute later. He sent Cormac Egan into space and the Tullamore dual star was toppled for a penalty by Shane Kingston’s head-high hit. After conferring with his umpires, Chris Mooney issued a yellow card that could’ve easily been red.

Dan Ravenhill’s penalty found the top corner, although Brion Saunderson did get his hurley to it.

Cork manager Ben O’Connor was booked after an exchange of words between the managers as he tried to swap Darragh O’Sullivan onto Screeney.

The diminutive forward still escaped for the next point and sent Egan into space again, although Saunderson made the save.

Cunningham and Screeney swapped two frees each, with Screeney once again fouled for both as Cork ended the half with three defenders on yellow cards.

Regardless, the Rebels ended the half stronger. Cork’s defensive powerhouses Eoin Downey and Ben O’Connor were playing together for the first time this year and it was when Downey stepped into the free-man role that Cork began to settle and get to grips with Screeney.

They launched five of the final six points from Mullins, David Cremin, Cunningham, Jack Leahy, and Tadhg O’Connell to lead by 1-11 to 1-9.

That run continued after the break with Mullins’ second solo goal in two games. It took just 10 seconds from the moment the sliotar left the referee’s hand for the throw-in to the net as the captain streaked past three defenders before his deceptive shot beat the keeper.

Cork would add the next six points, with four of those from Cunningham’s reliable stick.

Offaly trailed by 11 but their hopes weren’t fully extinguished as Conor Doyle latched onto a loose ball and showed fine composure in his finish.

But Cork were in full flow now as William Buckley and Leahy took their tallies to 0-4 each, while Healy added a point on top of his goal and five assists.

A Shane Rigney consolation goal arrived with the final puck, drawing chants of Uíbh Fhailí from the Offaly crowd as Cork’s celebrations began.

Scorers for Cork: Ben Cunningham 0-9 (5f), Micheál Mullins 1-1, Diarmuid Healy 1-1, William Buckley 0-4, Jack Leahy 0-4, Tadhg O’Connell 0-1, David Cremin 0-1, Adam O’Sullivan 0-1.

Scorers for Offaly: Adam Screeney 0-9 (7f), Dan Ravenhill 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f, 0-1 65), Conor Doyle 1-0, Shane Rigney 1-0.


1. Brion Saunderson (Midleton)

2. Mark Howell (Douglas), 3. Shane Kingston (Ballinora), 4. Darragh O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig)

5. James Dwyer (Ballincollig), 6. Ben O’Connor (St Finbarr’s), 9. Eoin Downey (Glen Rovers)

7. Micheál Mullins (Whitechurch, captain), 8. Tadhg O’Connell (Ballincollig)

10. William Buckley (St Finbarr’s), 12. Diarmuid Healy (Lisgoold), 11. Ben Cunningham (St Finbarr’s)

13. Ross O’Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh), 14. David Cremin (Midleton), 15. Jack Leahy (Dungourney)


  • 24. Eoin O’Leary (Glen Rovers) for R O’Sullivan (45)
  • 21. Adam O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig) for Cremin (48)
  • 22. Colin Walsh (Kanturk) for Leahy (56)
  • 19. Ciarán Doolin (St Finbarr’s) for Dwyer (58)
  • 23. Brian Keating (Ballincollig) for O’Connell (58)


1. Mark Troy (Durrow)

2. Patrick Taaffe (Belmont), 3. James Mahon (Kilcormac-Killoughey), 4. Brecon Kavanagh (Kilcormac-Killoughey)

5. Luke Watkins (Shinrone), 6. Sam Bourke (Durrow), 7. Ter Guinan (Kilcormac-Killoughey)

8. Colin Spain (Kilcormac-Killoughey), 9. Cathal King (Carrig-Riverstown)

10. Dan Bourke (Durrow), 11. Cormac Egan (Tullamore), 12. Conor Doyle (Clara)

13. Dan Ravenhill (Durrow), 14. Charlie Mitchell (Kilcormac-Killoughey, captain), 15. Adam Screeney (Kilcormac-Killoughey)


  • 24. Shane Rigney (St Rynagh’s) for Egan (h-t)
  • 19. Barry Egan (Clara) for Mitchell (40)
  • 20. Ruairí Kelly (Lusmagh) for Taaffe (40)
  • 17. Joe Hoctor (Carrig-Riverstown) for King (46)
  • 23. Ailbe Watkins (Birr) for Spain (53)

Referee: Chris Mooney (Dublin)

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