Munster U21HC final: irresistible Rebels too hot for Tipp

July 04, 2018

Cork's Darragh Fitzgibbon of Cork with Jerome Cahill of Tipperary during the Munster U21HC final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Cork are Munster U21 hurling champions for the first time since 2007 after coasting past Tipperary at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 2-23 to 1-13.

Victory completed a great four days for Cork hurling, although the sight of both Darragh Fitzgibbon and Robbie O'Flynn being forced out of the action will be of concern to John Meyler.

With 6,732 in attendance, the Rebels played some sublime hurling in the first half to lead by 1-12 to 0-5 at the break, O'Flynn bagging the goal while a series of spectacular points rained down from all angles.

Declan Dalton and Darragh Woods - a late addition to Tipp's starting XV - traded points inside the opening minute and the Rebels moves back in front via a stunning Mark Coleman sideline cut after Ger Collins had got down brilliantly to his right to keep out a Woods penalty.

Jack O'Connor made it 0-3 to 0-1 in the seventh minute and winning captain Shane Kingston was on hand to leave three between the sides with ten energy-sapping minutes played. The procession continued as Dalton tagged on a free.

In the 14th minute, O'Flynn calmly tucked the sliothar past Ciaran Barrett to the far corner of the net - 1-5 to 0-1 - and Tipp's response was a second Woods point, this one from a free.

The margin was seven again when Kingston thumped over a delightful point from distance; Dalton's elegant fetch and finish made it 1-7 to 0-2 but midfielder Ger Browne hit back and the Rebels suffered a blow when senior talisman Fitzgibbon departed the fray through injury eight minutes from the break.

That didn't discourage Dalton from chipping over a sideline cut and O'Connor duly made it a nine-point game. Liam Healy added to the winners' tally five minutes from the break with a trademark finish across the shoulder - the fifth of Cork's forwards to score.

Jerome Cahill and Browne pulled back stoppage-time Tipp points but a Dalton free flew over at the other side followed by a sublime Healy strike from distance as the dominant Leesiders led by ten at the short whistle.

Cork's Shane Kingston lifts the trophy. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Substitute Lyndon Fairbrother closed the gap from a free upon the restart but O'Connor immediately finished the game as a contest when he resisted a foul at the other end and sent a bullet to the corner of the net - 2-12 to 0-6.

Browne's third was cancelled out by Kingston and Dalton hit another point for the rampant Rebels as they powered 13 points ahead. Fairbrother (free) and O'Flynn pointed at either end before full forward Tim O'Mahony replied to the next Fairbrother free to leave eleven between the teams with as many minute remaining.

Browne grabbed another for the losers but Dalton replied from a free. Substitute Conor Cahalane supplied Cork's 18th point and wing back Eoghan Murphy got the next 30 seconds later - St Finbarr's and Sarsfields men to the fore!

There were 15 points between the teams when Kingston lofted over his next and O'Flynn limped out of the action before Jake Morris pulled back a magical consolation point.

Sub Aaron Myers pointed in the 60th minute and Fairbrother notched a Tipp '65' before Cahill scrambled a late, late consolation goal with his knee in the third of five added minutes. Man of the Match Coleman replied with a ridiculous brace to close the scoring.

Both teams advance to the All-Ireland semi-finals on August Bank Holiday weekend.

Cork - G Collins; S Smyth, D Griffin, N O'Leary; B Hennessy, E Murphy (0-1), D Lowney; M Coleman (0-3, 1f, 1sl), D Fitzgibbon; R O'Flynn (1-1), D Dalton (0-7, 3f, 1sl), S Kingston (0-4); J O'Connor (1-2), T O'Mahony (0-1), L Healy (0-2). Subs: C Cahalane (0-1) for D Fitzgibbon, D Connery for S Smyth, A Myers (0-1) for R O'Flynn, C O'Leary for D Dalton, M O'Halloran for L Healy.

Tipperary - C Barrett; K O'Dwyer, B McGrath, P Campion; C Flanagan, P Cadell, D Quirke; G Browne (0-4), C English; J Cahill (1-1), P Feehan, J Morris (0-1); D Gleeson, M Kehoe, D Woods (0-2). Subs: C Morgan for P Campion, L Fairbrother (0-5, 4f, 1'65) for D Gleeson, C Darcy for D Woods, S Neville for C English, C Stakelum for M Kehoe.

Referee - J Murphy.

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