HomeFootballKerry work past Cork to seal 31st Munster under-20 football title

Kerry work past Cork to seal 31st Munster under-20 football title


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Munster under-20 Football Championship: Kerry 1-15 Cork 0-12

Kerry were the inaugural recipients of the new Noel Walsh Cup to mark their 31st Munster U20 football title, sealed with a six-point victory over Cork.

In front of 2,718 fans at a sun-splashed Austin Stack Park, the Kingdom’s rapid start to the second half killed this contest and clinched an All-Ireland semi-final berth against Meath.

Turning to face the wind, Tomás Kennedy goaled within 90 seconds and three further scores padded their lead out to an unassailable 10 points.

The major difference between the sides was their efficiency in front of goal. Cork fluffed goal chances and dropped shots short at key moments although the tigerish Kerry defending demanded plenty of credit.

It was summed up by Hugh O’Connor being blocked down for a potential 1-2 in the first half. Captain Rob Stack, Dara O’Callaghan, and Maidhcí Lynch produced the vital interventions, the latter to deny a goal.

The Rebels had the first point through Ed Myers who was also denied a goal opportunity by the back-tracking Charlie Keating.

Kerry kicked five on the spin, with two fine scores from Daniel Kirby, and singles from Odhran Ferris, Cormac Dillon (free), and Aidan Crowley.

It was 0-5 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter and from there to the break, the sides evenly split eight points.

O’Connor snapped a smart score, Dara Sheedy booted one off his left, and Rory O’Shaughnessy broke through for another.

After a Keating point, Kerry relied on Dillon’s dead-ball accuracy to keep them ticking over. 0-9 to 0-5 at half-time.

Cork derived little benefit from the wind at their backs in the second half. Kerry had their goal when Kennedy played a one-two with Luke Crowley and jinked left to billow the net.

They created two more goal chances but Eddie Healy was bumped off the first and Gearóid Evans zipped the next just over the bar. Added to a Dillon brace, Kerry led by 10; 1-12 to 0-5.

Cork dug deep to hold them scoreless for the next 14 minutes while slotting four points of their own. O’Connor accounted for a pair of those and stung the palms of Michael Tansley with an effort at goal.

Ross Corkery skinned two men to create another opening but Sheedy, falling backwards, fired over. Micheál Maguire also misfired with a stoppage-time look at goal.

Kerry finished with all six forwards on the scoresheet and a brace off the bench from Ryan Diggin and Cathal Brosnan was enough to see them home.

KERRY: M Tansley; M Lynch, D O’Callaghan, G Evans (0-1); C Keating (0-1), C Lynch, D O’Connor; R Stack, E Healy; O Ferris (0-1), L Crowley (0-1), D Kirby (0-2); A Crowley (0-1), T Kennedy (1-0), C Dillon (0-6, four frees, one mark). Subs: R Diggin (0-1) for O’Callaghan (38 mins), A Segal for O’Connor (46), C Brosnan (0-1) for Ferris (49), P Lane for A Crowley (50), E Boyle for Healy (57).

CORK: M O’Connell; M Óg O’Sullivan, C Molloy (0-1), G Daly; S Copps, D Buckley, D Twomey; R O’Shaughnessy (0-1), M McSweeney; D O’Brien (0-1 free), D Sheedy (0-2), J O’Neill; O Corcoran (0-1), H O’Connor (0-3, one free), E Myers (0-1). Subs: G Kearney (0-1) for McSweeney (38 mins), R Corkery (0-1, one 45) for O’Brien (41), S O’Connell for Twomey (49), M Maguire for O’Shaughnessy (55), L O’Herlihy for Sheedy (60+2, inj).

Referee: N Quinn (Clare).

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