KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS
IN the early stages of the second half Cork trailed Tyrone by seven points, 1-13 to 1-6, in this All-Ireland U20FC semi-final at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
The writing looked on the wall for the Munster champs who had played second best to the Ulster men after a bright start.
Cork led 1-4 to 0-3 after 12 minutes – Colm Barrett with the goal – but trailed 1-10 to 1-6 by half time and that situation had worsened to 1-13 to 1-6 three minutes into the second period.
But Cork dug deep and the brilliant comeback began. Against Kerry in the Munster final, it was swash-buckling football. This time they showed the character and heart of this group.
Points from Cathal O’Mahony (3) and Mark Cronin chipped away at the lead that was down to three after 41 minutes. When Tyrone responded with efforts from James Garrity and sub Ethan Jordan, it looked to have weathered the storm. Tyrone led now 1-15 to 1-10 at the three-quarter mark.
First-half sub Eanna O’Hanlon narrowed the gap before a huge turning point – Tyrone midfielder Joe Oguz was sent to the line for a second yellow. Cork now had momentum and a man advantage.
Then came the second Cork goal. Another sub, Jack Murphy, saw a gap in the Tyrone defence and went for it. Before he knew it he was straight in on goal and his classy finish brought Cork to within one. Cathal O’Mahony levelled it, 2-12 to 1-15, before Tyrone tried to kick for home with two more points to hold the lead with five minutes left.
But Cork kept coming. The subs were making their presence felt. Mark Hodnett pointed with his first touch after coming on, Eanna O’Hanlon levelled it before a Cathal O’Mahony free nudged the Rebels in front after 60 minutes, 2-15 to 1-17.
A double from sub Fionn Herlihy sandwiched a Michael Conroy point for Tyrone, as Cork finished strong to win by two points. An incredible turnaround that has set up an All-Ireland final date with Dublin next weekend.
Scorers - Cork: Cathal O’Mahony 0-7 (5f); Mark Cronin 1-2 (1f); Jack Murphy 1-0; Colm Barrett, Eanna O’Hanlon, Fionn Herlihy 0-2 each; Brian Hartnett, Mark Hodnett 0-1 each. Tyrone: Tiarnán Quinn (2f) 0-6; Sean Óg McAleer 0-4 (2f); Darragh Canvan 1-1; James Garrity, Michael Conroy (1f) 0-2 each; Peter Óg McCartan, Ethan Jordan 0-1 each.
Cork: Josh O’Keeffe; Michael Mahoney, Maurice Shanley, Paul Ring; Gearoid O’Donovan, Sean Meehan, Peter O’Driscoll; Brian Hartnett, Daniel O’Connell; Colm Barrett, Blake Murhy, Colm O’Callaghan; Mark Cronin, Cathal O’Mahony, Damien Gore. Subs: Eanna O’Hanlon for Daniel O’Connell (27, inj); Jack McCarthy for G O’Donovan (34); Jack Murphy for C O’Callaghan (36); Fionn Herlihy for B Murphy (42); Mark Hodnett for M Mahoney (56); Shane Hickey for S Meehan (60, black card).
Tyrone: Lorcan Qionn; Aidan Clarke, Conor Quinn, Peadar Mullan; Conall Grimes, Antoin Fox, Conall Devlin; Ruairi Gormley, Joe Oguz; Peter Óg McCartan, Darragh Canvan, Mark McKearney; James Garrity, Sean Óg McAleer, Tiarnán Quinn. Subs: C Goodwin for A Fox (9, inj); Damien McGuigan for C Goodwin (29, black card); Ethan Jordan for P Óg McCartan (43); Michael Conroy for T Quinn (47).