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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

Tipperary hold off Cork in dramatic finale to claim second ever Munster U21 football crown

Tipperary now advance to face Dublin at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

Tipperary captain Colin O'Riordan lifts the trophy.
Tipperary captain Colin O'Riordan lifts the trophy.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tipperary 1-15
Cork 3-8

Updated 7.35am

TIPPERARY HELD ON in a pulsating finale to win only their second ever EirGrid Munster U21 football crown tonight against Cork in Semple Stadium.

The Premier county survived a late Cork onslaught that saw them hit 1-1 in the final minute to cut the deficit to the minimum but the Rebels couldn’t strike an equaliser with Cian Dorgan’s late shot under pressure tailing just wide.

It was a deserved victory for Tipperary who had superb displays from Kevin O’Halloran, Steven O’Brien, Bill Maher and captain Colin O’Riordan while Ian Fahey struck their crucial second-half goal.

Defeat helped atone for Tipperary’s Munster U21 final losses to Cork over the past two years and marked only their second ever provincial title after the maiden success against Kerry in the 2010 decider. It sets them up now with a clash against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final on 18 April.

Tipperary got a huge boost before the game with captain Colin O’Riordan declared fit to start. He shot 0-2 in an all-action display while O’Halloran, who wasn’t even on the panel for the semi-final win over Clare, justified his call up as he struck 0-6 in an exhibition of freetaking and helped allay the loss of key forwards due to injury.

Josh Keane celebrates Tipperary's Josh Keane and Luke Boland celebrate their victory. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tipperary made all the early running as they gained a grip on the match. O’Brien and Paul Maher caught the eye as they went 0-5 to 0-1 clear after the opening quarter and were in front by 0-7 to 0-1 by the 20th minute mark.

But Cork gradually improved with Sean O’Donoghue and Cathal Vaughan showing up well in attack. They had cut the gap to four points when Peter Kelleher palmed home a vital goal on the cusp of half-time after Tipperary couldn’t deal with an aerial bombardment from Vaughan.

Steven O'Brien and Darragh Murphy Cork and Tipp players rise for a kickout. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

It was 0-8 to 1-4 in favour of Tipperary at the break yet Cork would have been satisfied to be that narrowly adrift before their challenge was ignited after the break by a second Kelleher goal. He finished clinically past Evan Comerford following a fine delivery from O’Donoghue.

Tipperary’s focus never wavered. O’Halloran slotted frees to bring them level and then Fahey unleashed a fierce drive past Michael Martin to the net in the 45th minute. That was the breakthrough score as it pushed them 1-11 to 2-5 clear entering the final quarter.

They powered forward from there with O’Riordan, Jason Lonergan and O’Halloran sending them five up at one juncture in the closing stages. Cork’s grit saw them hang in there with Brian O’Driscoll pushing forward to direct their attack and Dorgan making his mark after being sprung from the bench as he grabbed 1-1.

It made for a nervy finale for the home support as Cork pressed for a levelling score but Tipperary hung on to close out the game.

Steven O'Brien and Ian Fahey celebrate Tipperary's Steven O'Brien and Ian Fahey celebrate their win. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for Tipperary:  Kevin O’Halloran 0-6 (0-5f), Ian Fahey 1-0, Jason Lonergan, Paul Maher, Josh Keane (0-1f), Colin O’Riordan 0-2 each, Steven O’Brien 0-1.

Scorers for Cork: Peter Kelleher 2-0, Cian Dorgan 1-1, Cathal Vaughan 0-4 (0-2f), Brian O’Driscoll (0-1f), Sean O’Donoghue, Darragh Murphy 0-1 each.


1. ​Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan Kilcash)

2. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)
3. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
4. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan)

5. Ross Mulcahy (Moyle Rovers)
6. Luke Boland (Moyle Rovers)
7. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash)

8. Steven O’Brien (Ballina)
24. Colin O’Riordan (JK Brackens)

10. Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials)
11. Ian Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)
9. Liam Casey (Cahir)

13. Kevin O’Halloran (Portroe)
14. Josh Keane (Golden Kilfeacle)
15. Paul Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash)

21. TJ Ryan (Rockwell Rovers) for Keane (56)
17. Willie Connors (Kildangan) for Boland (60)


1.   Micheál Martin (Nemo Rangers)

5.   Jamie Davis (Douglas)
3.   Tom O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers)
4.   Stephen Cronin (Nemo Rangers)

10. Brian O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh) Capt.
6.   Sean White (Clonakilty)
7.   Cian Kiely (Ballincollig)

8.   Alan O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers)
19. Sean O’Leary (Bantry Blues)

11. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
21. Cillian McIntyre (Carrigaline)
12. Darragh Murphy (Valley Rovers)

13. Cathal Vaughan (Uibh Laoire)
14. Peter Kelleher (Kilmichael)
15. Conor Horgan (Nemo Rangers)

22. Kevin Davis (O’Donovan Rossa) for Horgan (half-time)
21. Cillian McIntyre (Carrigaline) for Dorgan (38)
17. Dylan Quinn (St Finbarr’s) for O’Donovan (48)
20. Michael Desmond (Cill na Martra) for O’Donoghue (54)
2. Michael McSweeney (Newcestown) for Kiely (56)
18. Colm Hyde (Naomh Aban) for White (60)

Referee: Sean Joy (Kerry)

Originally published Thursday at 21.20

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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