KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS
WHAT an incredible game. What an incredible Cork performance. What an incredible result that will be remembered for years to come.
Cork came to Portlaoise, saw a fancied Dublin in front of them in the All-Ireland U20 football final and they conquered the capital with an immense show of guts, heart, skill and plenty of scintillating football.
The end result: Cork are All-Ireland U20 football champions.
It had looked ominous for the Munster champions who trailed 1-6 to 0-0 early in the first half against the free-flowing boys in blue, but once Cork settled, they took over.
From nine points down, they went on to win by eight.
Apart from that early poor spell, Cork outscored Dublin by 3-16 to 0-8. The Dubs only managed four second half points – by the end they were a rattled team and desperate for the final whistle.
It's official, Cork have the cup. pic.twitter.com/tzUhY12gqM
— Kieran McCarthy (@KieranMcC_SS) August 3, 2019
Three first-half goals from Blake Murphy, Mark Cronin and Colm O’Callaghan hauled Cork back into this game that had looked like running away from them.
Cork led by two at the break, 3-6 to 1-10, and they stretched their legs in the second half to leave Dublin struggling to catch-up.
The first half was in one word: crazy. Dublin bossed the first ten minutes. Cork were all at sea. Dublin raced into a 1-6 to 0-0 lead after 12 minutes and the reeling Rebels looked in serious trouble. The Dublin goal, by their scorer-in-chief Ciaran Archer, summed up Cork’s woes. Two bad Cork mistakes were punished.
But then this final changed. Blake Murphy replied instantly with a Cork goal in the 13th minute, a powerful volley finish. 1-6 to 1-0. Incredibly, Cork scored two more goals in the next four minutes – first, Mark Cronin with a clinical near-post finish and then Colm O’Callaghan with a close-range finish – and they were level, 3-1 to 1-7. Cronin had scored a free in this time too, James Doran adding a point for the Dubs.
The teams continued to trade points for the rest of the half and, trailing 1-10 to 3-3, Cork finished the half on top with three points in a row. Damien Gore levelled it, Cathal O’Mahony put Cork in front to a huge roar and then Daniel O’Connell added another.
Cork led 3-6 to 1-10 at the break and were roared off the pitch by the huge Cork support in the stand.
Dublin scored the first two points of the second half to level the final, 3-6 to 1-12, but Cork took over again. Mark Cronin, sub Jack Murphy, Cathal O’Mahony (free) and Blake Murphy all pointed as Cork moved 3-16 to 1-12 in front.
There was no let up from here on in, each Cork point cheered louder than the next, with Damien Gore reeling off three in a row as he showed his class, as did this brilliant Cork team that have handed Cork football another big boost.
Cork: Mark Cronin 1-3 (2f), Blake Murphy 1-2, Cathal O’Mahony 0-4 (3f); Damien Gore 0-4; Colm O’Callaghan 1-0, Daniel O’Connell, Jack Murphy, Fionn Herlihy 0-1 each. Dublin: Ciaran Archer 1-5 (3f); Brian O’Leary 0-3; Ross McGarry, James Doran 0-2, Donal Ryan, David Lacey 0-1 each.
Cork: Josh O’Keefe (Newmarket); Michael Mahoney (Knocknagree), Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty), Paul Ring (Aghabullogue); Gearoid O’Donovan (Newcestown), Sean Meehan (Kiskeam), Peter O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers); Brian Hartnett (Douglas), Daniel O’Connell (Kanturk); Colm Barrett (St Finbarr’s), Blake Murphy (St Vincents), Colm O’Callaghan (Eire Óg); Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers), Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), Damien Gore (Kilmacabea). Subs: Jack Murphy (Eire Og) for C Barrett (38); Mark Hodnett (Carbery Rangers) for C O’Callaghan (40); Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys) for B Murphy (50); Jack McCarthy (Carrigaline) for O’Donovan (56); Eanna O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for Gore; Shane Hickey (Millstreet) for Ring (62).
Dublin: David O’Hanlon; Darren Maher, Daire Newcombe, Eoin O’Dea; Kieran Kennedy, Neil Matthews, Sean Lambe; Peadar Ó Cofaigh, Donal Ryan; Niall O’Leary, Karl Lynch Bissett, James Doran; Brian O’Leary, Ciarán Archer, Ross McGarry. Subs: David Lacey for N O’Leary (38); Harry Ladd for P Ó Cofaigh (42, black card); Aaron Lynch for Maher (53).
Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).