BGE Munster U-21 Hurling: Cork pip Waterford
Bord Gáis Energy Munster U-21 Hurling semi-final
CORK 2-17 WATERFORD 1-19
By Tomás McCarthy at Walsh Park
Declan Dalton buried a penalty in the sixth minute of injury time to drive 14-man Cork into the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U-21 final and send reigning provincial and All Ireland champions Waterford packing at Walsh Park.
The home team recovered from five points down in the second half, helped by a goal from Shane Bennett, to lead by three entering stoppage-time.
In a dramatic finale, Cork midfielder Darragh Fitzgibbon got his marching orders before substitute Jack O’Connor was dragged down by Darragh Lyons. Dalton held his nerve to fire the sliotar to the bottom corner.
The Fr O’Neills attacker completed the hour with 1-12. Fitzgibbon also stood out with three points but will miss the Munster final against Limerick on July 26. Déise number nine Colm Roche took the fight to Cork and finished with five from play.
Dalton posted seven points, including two sidelines, as the wind assisted visitors led 0-10 to 0-8 after a fiery opening half. The sides were all square on four occasions.
Five Dalton singles sent the Rebels 0-7 to 0-4 clear after 17 minutes. The hosts replied with three on the bounce. Shane Bennett burst into the contest around midfield and Colm Roche hit over three points from play.
Dalton and Darragh Fitzgibbon nudged the Rebels two up at the short whistle. Corner back Sean O’Donoghue escaped with a yellow card for a high tackle on Bennett.
On the resumption, two Curran conversions brought the Déise back on equal terms (ten points apiece). Dalton (free) and Fitzgibbon restored Cork’s two point gap. Cormac Curran recovered one with an audacious effort from an awkward angle.
On 37 minutes, sub Tim O’Mahony supplied Robbie O’Flynn and he crashed the ball to the roof of the net. Another Fitzgibbon raid put them five clear (1-13 to 0-11).
The busy Roche and the prolific Patrick Curran left a goal between them. Jordan Henley saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Dalton and the number eleven promptly dispatched it.
With eight minutes left, Waterford sub Andrew Casey passed inside to Bennett and the Ballysaggart forward shortened the grip to flick it past Patrick Collins (1-15 to 0-14).
Although Dalton subsequently equalised, the holders seemed destined for victory when Patrick Curran and Jack Prendergast pushed them three ahead.
But that late Rebel surge set up a first provincial final meeting with Limerick since 2011.
Scorers for Cork: D Dalton 1-12 (8fs, 1-0 pen, 2 s-ls), R O’Flynn 1-0, D Fitzgibbon 0-3, P Leopold, M O’Halloran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford: P Curran 0-10 (7fs, 1 65’), C Roche 0-5, S Bennett 1-1, C Curran 0-2, J Prendergast 0-1.
Waterford: B Nolan; D Prendergast, C Prunty, D Lyons; J Henley, C Gleeson, C Lyons; A Molumby, C Roche; J Prendergast, C Curran, S Ryan; P Hogan, S Bennett, P Curran.
Subs: E O’Halloran for Molumby (42), D Lynch for C Lyons (42), A Casey for C Curran (49), JP Lucey for Ryan (59).
Cork: P Collins; D Griffin, E Murphy, S O’Donoghue; B Hennessy, D Browne, M Coleman; P Leopold, D Fitzgibbon; C O’Leary, D Dalton, M O’Halloran; A Myers, S Kingston, R O’Flynn. Subs: T O’Mahony for Myers (30), E Healy for O’Donoghue (32), J O’Connor for Kingston (50), D Lowney for O’Leary (54).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)