Cork 2-29
Limerick 0-21

THE GAELIC GROUNDS has proved an unhappy hunting ground for Cork hurling in recent times yet the county’s U20 team managed to deliver a positive outcome at the venue in tonight’s Munster semi-final.

Cork’s Shane Barrett in action against Limerick’s Jimmy Quilty.

Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The success was achieved in a remarkable fashion by Cork during a game that required extra-time to settle the issue. They exploded to life in the additional period and chalked up more on the scoreboard (1-15) in that spell than they had managed (1-14) in regulation time.

That wasn’t the only eye-catching statistic. Cork’s substititues inspired their team as they a compiled a tally off 1-12 off the bench with Brian Hayes and Colin O’Brien in marvellous scoring form. Hayes batted home an 80th minute goal when Cork were already looking comfortable and the St Finbarr’s player finished his side’s top scorer with 1-4.

Brian Hayes scores Cork’s second goal against Limerick.

Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

O’Brien’s contribution was just as noteworthy, suppling points at the start of extra-time to help Cork confirm their superiority. They had looked shaky when Limerick seemed to have wrestled back the momentum.

Yet O’Brien, entering the fray at the outset of extra-time, snapped over a trio of sublime sideline cuts from the right wing in a four-minute phase. He notched a brace of points from play later on with his presence, coupled with that of Hayes, adding extra heft to the Cork forward line.

Shane Barrett smashed home a first-half goal and finished the game wiht the man-of-the-match award while Alan Connolly, the star of Blackrock’s county senior title win, was another prominent forward. Further back Daire Connery was in exceptional form while Daire O’Leary and Conor O’Callaghan also had strong defensive outings.

It was hard for Limerick to process that they finished the game 14 points in arrears. They  had engineered a late scoring rally to force extra-time. Alan O’Connor pointed the last four points of normal time from frees to drag them level, the last awarded after terrific carries forward by defenders Brian O’Grady and Colin Coughlan for Limerick had drawn the foul.

Cork looked like they would rue that closing slump. They had five point chances at the end of normal time but fired three wide, saw another shot ruled out for over-carrying and Brian Roche was denied with his last-gasp effort by a hook from the Limerick defence. 

Limerick’s Josh Considine and Cork’s Eoin Carey.

Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

It stood 1-14 to 0-17 at that juncture but Cork pushed 1-22 to 0-19 clear by the 71st minute thanks to a string of unanswered points. Limerick faded and were unable to summon a response as the match ended in a disappointment for Paul Beary’s team. They possessed a brilliant attacker in Cathal O’Neill as he amassed 0-5 from play while Cormac Ryan and Josh Considine were influential from their central berths.

There was a sluggish nature to the first-half play. The wide count read 9-7 in Limerick’s favour by the interval, the exchanges capturing two teams that were trying to feel their way back into action. It was just under eight weeks since Cork overcame Kerry in their Munster opener, Limerick were out of the traps for the first time in competitive action in 2020.

Cork shaded the opening period, rattling over the first four points of the game and then when Limerick responded with three impressive points, Pat Ryan’s team outscored them 1-3 to 0-1 in the second quarter. The critical score arrived in the 18th minute and the first goal of the evening was a brilliantly constructed effort.

Brian Roche delivered a neat pass from the right sideline that Connolly gathered and offloaded in one fluid movement to Barrett, moving on the run and tearing off his shoulder. Barrett’s strike off his left was clinical and Jason Gillane in the Limerick goal had little chance of stopping it.

It was 1-7 to 0-4 at the interval but Limerick owned the third quarter as they reeled Cork in to cut the deficit to three. They moved within one on a couple of occasions after the second-half water break yet Cork looked to have weathered the storm. They fashioned a scoring burst, Connolly grabbing a pair of fine scores, and went 1-14 to 0-13 clear.

That four-point advantage looked sufficient but Limerick wiped it out in injury-time. Cork’s confidence may have wavered but they regathered and closed out the game in a powerful fashion.

A final two days before Christmas against Tipperary or Waterford, who play on Tuesday night, now beckons.

Scorers for Cork: Brian Hayes 1-4, Shane Barrett 1-3, Alan Connolly 0-6 (0-4f), Colin O’Brien 0-5 (0-3 sidelines), Daire Connery 0-4 (0-4f), Brian Roche, Tommy O’Connell (0-1f), Shane O’Regan 0-2 each, Brian O’Sullivan 0-1 (0-1f).

Scorers for Limerick: Aidan O’Connor 0-8 (0-7f), Cathal O’Neill 0-5, Cormac Ryan 0-3 (0-3f), Dylan O’Shea 0-2 (0-1f), Josh Considine, Mark McCarthy, Bryan Nix 0-1 each.

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1. Eoin Davis (St Catherine’s)

2. Conor O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe – captain)
3. Eoin Roche (Bride Rovers)
4. Aaron Walsh-Barry (Carrigtwohill)

5. Daire Connery (Na Piarsaigh)
6. Ciaran Joyce (Castlemartyr)
7. Dáire O’Leary (Watergrasshill)

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8. Sam Quirke (Midleton)
9. Tommy O’Connell (Midleton)

12. Eoin Carey (Kilworth)
11. Sean Twomey (Courcey Rovers)
10. Brian Roche (Bride Rovers)

15. Shane Barrett (Blarney)
14. Alan Connolly (Blackrock)
13. Jack Cahalane (St Finbarr’s)


19. Brian O’Sullivan (Kanturk) for Twomey (half-time)
22. Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s) for Carey (44)
24. Padraig Power (Blarney) for Cahalane (47)
20. Darragh Flynn (Ballygiblin) for O’Connell (48)
21. Shane O’Regan (Watergrasshill) for Quirke (51)
23. Colin O’Brien (Liscarroll/Churchtown) for Brian Roche (start of extra-time)
17. Cormac O’Brien (Newtownshandrum) for Joyce (78)
18. Fenton Denny (Ballincollig) for O’Callaghan (79)


1. Jason Gillane (Patrickswell)

2. Jimmy Quilty (Blackrock)
3. Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen)
4. Ben Herlihy (Castletown/Ballyagran)

5. Mark Quinlan (Garryspillane)
6. Cormac Ryan (Doon)
7. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown)

8. Kevin Bonnar (Bruff)
9. Josh Considine (Patrickswell)

10. Cathal Downes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)
11. Dylan O’Shea (Garryspillane)
12. Jack Ryan (Doon – captain)

13. Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown)
14. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora-Manister)
15. Bryan Nix (Newcastlewest)


19. Michael Keane (Adare) for Bonnar (half-time)
20. Sean Long (Na Piarsaigh) for O’Shea (47)
21. Mark McCarthy (Templeglantine) for Jack Ryan (47)
23. Danny O’Leary (Bruff) for Downes (51)
17. Calvin Carroll (Patrickswell) for Considine (60)
9. Considine for Quinlan (69)
24. Bob Purcell (Doon) for Nix (70)
22. Jack Nicholas (Monaleen) for O’Connor (75)

Referee: Rory McGann (Clare)

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