Limerick 4-20 Cork 1-27 (after extra time)
A crowd of 8,536 watched Limerick take the Munster Under 21 hurling crown for the first time in 9 years, in what was without doubt, one of the finest hurling matches of this or any season, in any grade. This was one of those games where it was a great shame that there had to be a winner – and a loser – and hardly surprisingly the game was only decided in extra time, with Leaving Cert student Declan Hannon’s goal in the second period of extra time being the decisive score.
The Shannonsiders could not have asked for a better start with corner forward Graeme Mulcahy finding the net with but a mere 20 seconds on the clock. Conor Allis had a second Limerick point minutes later but by the 13th minute the Corkmen had taken the lead with four points in a row. Aidan Walsh, who had suffered disappointment when the county’s footballers lost to Mayo on Sunday, was in great form and the outstanding player on the field at this point with five points from play between the 16th and 30th minute. Limerick’s Shane Dowling narrowed the gap with three points of his own from frees but Walsh’s points ensured that the Rebels were on top at half time 0-12 to 1-7.
At the interval many of the home fans at the Gaelic Grounds felt that their side’s nine year search for the title would be extended – the game changed dramatically though in the opening quarter of an hour of the second half with a Limerick goal from Sean O’Brien being followed by a Shane Dowling point. A couple of minutes later and Graeme Mulcahy took advantage of an unlucky deflection off Cork defender Damien Cahalane for another Limerick green flag and as both Allis and Hannon then added points, Limerick had moved from being four points down to five points in the lead.
A fine goal from Luke O’Farrell in the 48th minute, which followed Cork points, narrowed the gap to 3-11 to 1-15 . O’Farrell hit the equaliser two minutes later and Jamie Coughlan – with a great point – put the Rebels in front with eight minutes left. Another Limerick comeback and a Declan Hannon point brought the teams level again then substitute Mark Carmody put them in front once more. That man Coughlan had another Cork point and Aidan Walsh with a truly magnificent point from the half way line, levelled the scores as the final whistle blew.
And so to extra time. Four Jamie Coughlan points, three from play, put Cork to a 1-26 to 3-17 lead at the interval in that extra period. Anyone’s game again but it was Hannon’s goal in the dying minutes that was to prove decisive in this enthralling thriller. Great performances were many – Limerick goalkeeper Aaron Murphy was one such here. Cork full back Damien Cahalane another. And of course Declan Hannon.Praise too to Waterford referee, Pat Casey, strict when he needed to be but always fair.
The game of hurling was the real winner here though one must feel sorry for Cork’s Aidan Walsh, outstanding on the night. On the losing side in the Munster football final against Kerry, in the All Ireland semi-final against Mayo and again last night.
Sport can be cruel!
Bord Gais Energy Munster U21HC final
Limerick 4-20(32) 1-27(30) Cork, Gaelic Grounds AET
Its all over, what a match. Limerick were so brave.
20ET Declan Hannon puts two in it, only one min to play.
20ET Cork need a goal
19ET Coughlan puts one between them.
18ET Another stunning save from the Limerick keeper,its goes out for a 65′
17ET Kevin Downes puts Limerick two up.
16ET Roars from all over the ground, Limerick denied a definite free in front of the posts.
14ET Limerick need the next score and they get it with a goal from Declan Hannon.
11ET Conor Allis gets Limerick back to within two.
11ET Second half of extra time underway.
Half time of ET
10ET Connor Lehane puts three in it at half time of extra time.
10ET Stunning free from Shane Dowling still anyones game.
9ET Jamie Coughlan with his fourth point of extra time.
8ET Carmody get Limerick back to within two.
7ET Jamie Coughlan hits his third point of extra time for Cork.
6ET Conor Allis hits a great free from the half way line. Two in it.
5ET Sean O’Brien puts Cork three up.
4ET Stunning point from Jamie Coughlan from play to put the Rebels two up.
3ET Poor wide from Conor Allis.
1ET Jamie Coughlan puts Cork one up with an easy free.
1min ET Twenty min of extra time to be played.
ETThat was one of the best matches all year, Aidan Walsh had some match and his equaliser one of the best scores in Hurling this year. Extra time should be fun.
Full time Extra time to be played
60+2 Unbelievable Aidan Walsh levels it from inside his own half.
60+1 Only two minutes injury time. Very surprising.
60+1 Jamie Coughlan puts one between them with an easy free.
60min Limerick go two up with a few minutes to play.
58min Few subs coming in,we should have at least three minutes injury time.
56min Poor wide form Cork, the next score will be vital for either team.
55min Stunning point from Declan Hannon gets the shannonsiders back in front.
54min Jamie Coughlan hits another free, for the tenth time its level.
53min Sub Carmody puts Limerick back in front.
52min Jamie Coughlan levels the match up with eight minutes to play.
50min Luke O’Farrell gets another point to leave only one in it.
49min Luke O’Farrell gets a goal for Cork, this is some match.
47min Declan Hannon extends the Limerick lead back to five.
46min Cork get a goal but the ball was fouled
45min David Drake puts a sideline over the bar for Cork.
44min Jamie Coughlan hits a wide for Cork.
43min Cork have conceded the last nine points.
41min Declan Hannon & Conor Allis points put Limerick five up.
39min Greame Mulcahy gets his second goal of the match. What a turn around in three minutes.
38min Shane Dowling levels it up with a nice point from play.
37min Sean O’Brien gets Limerick back in the match with a great goal.
35min Just stunning from Aidan Walsh who hits a point from inside his own half.
34min W Egan hits a 65′ wide for Cork after another great save from the Limerick keeper.
33min Walsh with his sixth point puts Cork three up.
32min First wide of the second half goes to Cork.
31min Second half underway, Mark Carmody on for Michael Ryan for Limerick.
30+2 Walsh hits over another stunning point to leave two in it at the break.
30+2 Poor wide from Sean O’Brien who should of put the sides level before half time.
30+1 Stunning point from Corks star player Aidan Walsh.
30min Shane Dowling levels it up once more, what a game.
29min Jamie Coughlan hits the 65′ wide.
28min Another amazing save from the Limerick keeper, its out for a 65′
27min Poor wide from Graeme Mulcahy who should really of scored.
26min Aidan Walsh puts Cork back into the lead.
24min Shane Dowling levels it with another easy free.
22min Shane Dowling gets Limerick within one with a point from a free.
21min Graeme Mulcahy keeps Limerick in with a nice point from play.
20min A Walsh extends the Cork lead to three points.
19min Shane Dowling gets a point back from a free for Limerick.
18min Stunning save by the Limerick keeper who flicks it over his crossbar.
16min Two points from C Lehane puts Cork back into the lead in what has been a very entertaining start
15min Shane Dowling levels it up from a free for Limerick.
14min Aidan Walsh puts Cork into the lead.
12min Great save from the Cork keeper when Limerick looked to be for a second goal.
11min M O’Sullivan levels up the match with a nice point from play.
7min Jamie Coughlan hits over another free to leave one in it.
6min Point from a free for Cork from Jamie Coughlan.
5min Midfielder for Limerick Conor Allis gets a point back from the half way line from play.
4min Cork have their first attack with L O’Farrell getting a point from play.
3min Great start for the underdogs getting an early goal.
1min Match underway with a goal for Limerick from Graeme Mulcahy.
0min Game is going to be about four minutes late starting.
0min Match about to get underway.
0min Limerick play host to Cork in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster Hurling U-21 Final at the Gaelic Grounds at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 3rd August.
Cork (U21H v Limerick): D McCarthy (Ballymartle); C Joyce (Na Piarsaigh), D Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), S Corry (Ballymartle); J Nagle (Midleton), W Egan (Kilbrin), M Ellis (Millstreet); S O’Farrell (Midleton), D Roche (Sarsfields); D Brosnan (Glen Rovers), C Lehane (Midleton), A Walsh (Kanturk); L O’Farrell (Midleton), M O’Sullivan (Tracton), J Coughlan (Newtownshandrum).
Subs: M O’Neill (Bishopstown), B Withers (Banteer), E Finn (Ballinhassig), P Honohan (Bishopstown), D Drake (Carrigaline), M Sexton (Kilbrittain), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), S O’Brien (Carrigaline), P Haughney (Midleton), B Collins (Killeagh), E O’Sullivan (Sarsfields).
1. Aaron Murphy (Hospital/Herbertstown), 2. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh),
3. Patrick Begley (Mungret), 4. Steve O’Reilly (Ballybrown), 5. Cathal McNamara (Doon)
6. Cian Hayes (Kildimo), 7. Thomas O’Callaghan (Monagea), 8. Conor Allis (Croom)
9. Seán O’Brien (Patrickswell), 10. Niall Kennedy (Granagh/Ballingarry), 11. Declan Hannon (Adare), 12. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), 13. Michael Ryan (Murroe/Boher), 14. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh)(Capt.), 15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
The visitors will go into this evenings match as favourites, having surprised the All Ireland champions Tipperary in the last round of the competition. That win was a huge boost for the county and despite the Treaty men having home advantage tonight,it may not be enough to see off the rebels.
The hosts will be looking to star forward Kevin Downes to deliver the goods again in this contest. The player hit 1-04 against Clare in the semi final and has been in outstanding form all season. If he can escape the shackles of the Cork defence then Limerick must have every chance of taking the title.
Christy Cooney, President of the GAA said: “any hurling fixture between Cork and Limerick always promises to be a closely fought encounter with Wednesday’s game no exception. With a number of players’ involved already showcasing their skills at senior level, we are in for a cracking evening’s entertainment.”
Ger Cunningham, sports sponsorship manager at Bord Gáis Energy added: “This promises to be another epic Munster final. With Cork overcoming Tipperary in their third year of trying, they really are going to be firing on all cylinders. Limerick were considered slight under-dogs against Clare but their skill and talent came to the fore. At this point anything could happen on Wednesday evening and I am really looking forward to a great game of hurling.”
Tonight’s winners will go on to play Galway in the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U-21 semi finals on August 20th.