THE West Cork Academy claimed a second SFAI Munster title in as many weeks following the region’s U15 schoolboys’ victory over North Tipperary.
David Hall and Danny Logan’s side travelled to Cahir to face North Tipp in the 2023 SFAI Munster Trophy decider.
The U15s were hoping to follow in the footsteps of the region’s U13 schoolboys who defeated Clare in the SFAI Munster U13 Schoolboys Shield final at the same venue the week before.
North Tipperary were expected to provide stiff opposition in Sunday’s Munster Trophy final and so it proved in the early exchanges.
West Cork settled and grabbed an early lead when Jerry O’Leary’s positive approach work resulted in Pádraic Hegarty slotting home the final’s opening goal.
Encouraged by that Hegarty strike, West Cork retained possession for long spells before finding Tim Sweeney on the edge of the North Tipperary penalty area. The Kilmichael Rovers striker didn’t hesitate and found the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Ronan Hayes and Ronan Collins ensured North Tipperary’s counter-attacking attempts to get back in the final floundered in the final third.
It was 3-0 shortly before the interval as a dominant West Cork’s Ryan O’Boy and Eric Hicks combined to set up Sweeney for his second goal.
Midfielders James Maguire, Finn O’Mahony and Conor Vassallo’s work-rate made life difficult for North Tipperary throughout the second period. The latter were much improved after the break but the cushion of a three-goal lead allowed West Cork dominate possession and territory.
There was still time for the West Cork Academy to score a fourth and decisive goal when Pádraic Hegarty cut in from the wing and rifled a superb effort into the back of the net.
Winning the 2023 SFAI Munster Trophy represents the best possible preparation for a West Cork Academy U15 Schoolboys side that must now turn their attentions to the quarter-finals of the SFAI National competition.
A trip to Wexford awaits a young squad brimming with talent and confidence.