KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS FROM TRALEE
CIAN DORGAN’S injury-time winner has returned Cork to the summit of the Munster U21 football championship again.
The Ballincollig man kicked a late, late winner at Austin Stack Park, Tralee, as Cork won their fifth Munster U21 football title in six years – and also brought some much-needed cheer to Cork football.
The young Rebels deserved this latest provincial win, but they were pushed all the way by Kerry in an epic second-half that saw the tie in the balance, until Dorgan kicked a stunning winning score.
Goals win games they say, and Cork had three in this match, two in the first half, and it was their third, by man of the match Sean White in the 47th minute – he crashed in a rasper off the underside of the crossbar – that had looked to, finally, give the visitors the upperhand. It moved Cork 3-7 to 1-11 ahead.
Moments later, Cork defender Kieran Histon performed heroics with a goal-line clearance to deny Kerry a certain goal.
Down the final stretch, Kerry pulled level, 1-14 to 3-8, thanks to scores from Micheál Burns, Jack Savage and Tony Brosnan, with Stephen Sherlock replying for the Rebels. Then came Dorgan’s late winning point that sees Cork advance to an All-Ireland semi-final against Monaghan.
Cork had led 2-4 to 0-7 at the break, after a half that they bossed with their direct running at the Kerry defence paying dividends.
Kerry kicked two points in the opening minute but Cork were level by the sixth minute as both Ryan Harkin and Brian Coakley (free) were on target.
After Killian Spillane nudged Kerry back in front, Cork hit a purple patch that their early dominance deserved, as they scored 2-2 in quick succession – with goals from Brian Coakley and Sean Powter, while Michael Hurley and Harkin sent over points.
By now, Cork led 2-4 to 0-4, but paid the price for a few bad wides, as Kerry finished the half stronger, scoring three unanswered points to trail 2-4 to 0-7 at half time. Jack Savage (2) and Eanna Ó Conchuir scored for the home side.
The start of the second half saw Kerry outscore Cork by 1-4 to 0-2 as they took a 1-11 to 2-6 lead, but after a Peter Kelleher point, Sean White goaled, and that was the first of many moments of late drama in a thrilling finish.
Cork: Brian Coakley 1-1 (f), Sean Powter, Sean White 1-0 each, Ryan Harkin, Michael Hurley 0-2 each, Sean O’Donoghue (f), Peter Kelleher, Stephen Sherlock, Cian Dorgan 0-1 each.
Kerry: Jack Savage 0-5 (4f), Dara Roche 0-3, Mark O’Connor 1-0, Killian Spillane 0 Briain Ó Seanacháin, Eanna Ó Conchúir, Micheal Burns, Tony Brosnan 0-1 each.
Cork: Anthony Casey (Kiskeam); Micheál McSweeney (Newcestown), John Mullins (Eire Óg), Dylan Quinn (St Finbarr’s); Kevin Flahive (Douglas), Stephen Cronin (Nemo Rangers), Kieran Histon (Cobh); Sean White (Clonakilty), Sean O’Leary (Bantry Blues); Sean Powter (Douglas), Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), Ryan Harkin (Mallow); Brian Coakley (Carrigaline), Peter Kelleher (Kilmichael), Michael Hurley (Castlehaven).
Subs used: Stephen Sherlock (St Finbarr’s), Dan Ó Duinin (Cill na Martra), Cian Kiely (Ballincollig), Cian Dorgan (Ballincollig),Eoin Lavers (Dohenys).
Kerry: Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill); Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle); Matthew Flaherty (Dingle), Tom Leo O’Sullivan (Dingle), Gavin White (Dr Crokes;) Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle), Mark O’Connor (Dingle); Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue), Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes), Eanna Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht); Dara Roche (Glenflesk), Killian Spillane (Templenoe), Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys).
Subs used: Greg Horan, David Foran, Cormac Coffey, Jordan Kiely, Tony Brosnan, Fionan Clifford.
— Kieran McCarthy (@KieranMcC_SS) April 7, 2016