Fantastic Comeback Sees U20 Footballers Through to Final

July 28, 2019

EirGrid All-Ireland U-20 Football Championship semi-final

CORK 2-17 TYRONE 1-18

By Kevin Egan at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park

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Cork came from seven points down early in the second half to record a memorable victory over Tyrone this afternoon in Tullamore, with their bench firing an incredible 1-5 from play to edge out the Ulster champions.

Just as had been the case in their minor quarter-final against Kerry, a red card for a Tyrone midfielder – in this case Joe Oguz of Errigal Chiaráin, sent off for a second bookable offence after 46 minutes – proved to be a significant factor in the result.

Cork's response to that helping hand was exemplary as they stepped up the intensity, ran the ball at great pace, and forced Tyrone to empty their already depleting reserves of energy. As gaps opened up, the fresh legs of the Cork bench made a huge contribution and once Jack Murphy energised their comeback with a superb run and finish immediately after Oguz’s dismissal, the Rebels always looked like the most likely winners.

Cork also looked strong in the early stages, despite playing into the wind. The first four points were equally shared, with Colm Barrett opening the scoring after ten seconds but Tiarnan Quinn replying immediately, before Mark Cronin and Seán Óg McAleer exchanged scores.

However the Rebels took a decisive lead when Colm O’Callaghan fielded a high, hopeful delivery from Peter O’Driscoll and with Tyrone hands clambering all over him to dispossess him, he just about got the ball away to Cronin, who duly placed the ball in between Lorcán Quinn and the near post of the Tyrone goalkeeper.

Tyrone needed something to defend in the second half and in order to gain any sort of lead, they needed a shift in momentum – and they got it through a wonderful piece of quick feet and quick thinking. A free some 40 metres from the Cork goal would have been a simple point but Seán Óg McAleer played the ball into Peter Óg McCartan, who laid the ball off to Darragh Canavan. The Tyrone centre forward showed incredible pace to break through the full back line and sidefoot the ball past the Cork goalkeeper in a fashion reminiscent of his father.

Tyrone added the next seven points in a row, playing some scintillating football as they did so. Joe Oguz made some great catches, Darragh Canavan continued to pull the strings from centre forward and up front their inside forwards showed incredible accuracy, moving the tally up to 1-10 with just two wides, one of which was a misplaced long pass.

The first five minutes of the second half suggested that the Red Hand County were well-poised to kick on and win well, as Tiarnán Quinn brought his tally to six points with two more excellent scores from play inside a minute, but the scores dried up and gradually Cork worked their way back into tie, with Cathal O’Mahony leading the way up front. Four points on the spin cut the lead back to three points, before James Garrity stemmed the bleeding with a close-range effort that could just as easily have been a goal. A 60-metre run and finish from Ethan Jordan drew a huge shout from the Tyrone support but things were about the change utterly once Oguz received a second yellow card for his high tackle on Seán Meehan.

Two minutes later Jack Murphy had sliced the defence open and Cork were back within a point, and they never looked back. Éanna Ó’Hanlon, Fionn Herlihy and Mark Hodnett all kicked points off the bench and while Michael Conroy kept Tyrone’s noses in front until the 58th minute, five minutes of stoppage time was all Cork needed to finish off the job and set up a final clash with Dublin next weekend.

Scorers for Cork: Cathal O’Mahony 0-7 (0-5f), Mark Cronin 1-2 (0-1f), Jack Murphy 1-0, Colm Barrett, Éanna O’Hanlon and Fionn Herlihy 0-2 each, Brian Hartnett and Mark Hodnett 0-1 each. 

Scorers for Tyrone: Tiarnan Quinn 0-6 (0-2f), Seán Óg McAleer 0-5 (0-2f), Darragh Canavan 1-1, James Garrity & Michael Conroy (0-1f) 0-2 each, Peter Óg McCartan & Ethan Jordan 0-1 each.

CORK: Josh O’Keeffe; Michael Mahoney, Maurice Shanley, Paul Ring; Gearóid O’Donovan, Seán Meehan, Peter O’Driscoll; Brian Hartnett, Daniel O’Connell; Colm Barrett, Blake Murphy, Colm O’Callaghan; Mark Cronin, Cathal O’Mahony, Damien Gore. Subs used: Eanna O’Hanlon for O’Connell (28), Jack McCarthy for O’Donovan (34), Jack Murphy for O’Callaghan (36), Fionn Herlihy for B Murphy (41), Mark Hodnett for Mahoney (55), Shane Hickey for Meehan (60+2, black card).

TYRONE: Lorcán Quinn; Aidan Clarke, Conor Quinn, Peadar Mullan; Conall Grimes, Antoin Fox, Conall Devlin; Joe Oguz, Rúairí Gormley; Peter Óg McCartan, Darragh Canavan, Mark McKearney; Tiarnan Quinn, Seán Óg McAleer, James Garrity. Subs used: Cahir Goodwin for Fox (9), Damien McGuigan for Goodwin (29, black card), Ethan Jordan for McCartan (42), Michael Conroy for T Quinn (48), Matthew Murnaghan for Devlin (58)

Referee: Seán Laverty (Antrim)

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