Conor Loftus scored two goals for Mayo.

Conor Loftus scored two goals for Mayo.

EirGrid All Ireland U21 Final: Mayo win thriller in Ennis


EIRGRID ALL IRELAND UNDER 21 FINAL

Mayo 5-7 Cork 1-14

By Cian O'Connell at Cusack Park, Ennis

Mayo finished a brilliant EirGrid All Ireland Under 21 Final with a flourish to claim a first national title at this level since 2006.

Conor Loftus and Liam Irwin netted late goals for Mayo, who shaded a gripping game at Cusack Park.

Cork had fought back to level with five minutes remaining, but Mayo pinched two goals to seal a dramatic triumph.

A lively opening period was laced with drama as Mayo finished strongly to depart at the break armed with a 2-5 to 0-7 advantage.

Despite being backed by the wind Mayo trailed by three points as the interval approached, but Michael Solan’s team struck 2-1 without reply.

That Mayo burst ensured they went in heartened at the interval even though Cork were productive early on.

Brian Coakley, Ryan Harkin, and Sean Powter all impressed for the Rebels, who led by 0-7 to 0-4 as the first half entered stoppage time.

Mayo then pounced for a goal when Diarmuid O’Connor palmed home following smart approach work by Michael Plunkett.

Liam Irwin subsequently banged over a free and Mayo netted a second goal with Plunkett again the provider.

On this occasion Plunkett’s pass was gathered by Irwin, who supplied a crisp finish, and suddenly Mayo were ahead by four at the turnaround.

Loftus bagged a 37th minute goal to edge Mayo 3-6 to 0-10 on front, but Cork kept battling away to narrow the gap.

A 46th minute Peter Kelleher major injected Cork with confidence and a Brian Coakley point on 55 had the Rebels trading at parity again.

But Mayo weren’t going to be denied as they punished costly Cork lapses in concentration late on with Loftus and Irwin supplying the decisive blows.

Scorers for Mayo: L Irwin 2-2 (1f, 145), C Loftus 2-2 (2fs), D O'Connor 1-0, M Plunkett 0-2, M Ruane 0-1.

Scorers for Cork: B Coakley 0-5 (3fs), S O'Donoghue 0-4 (3fs, 145), P Kelleher 1-0, R Harkin 0-2, R O'Toole 0-1, M Hurley 0-1, S Powter 0-1.

*Mayo: *M Flanagan;  E O’Donoghue, S Cunniffe, D Kenny; S Akram, J Kelly, M Hall; M Ruane, S Coen; F Boland, C Loftus, D O’Connor; L Irwin, F Duffy, M Plunkett.

Subs: J Carr for Duffy (44 mins), B Duffy for Kelly (56 mins), M Lyons for Plunkett (56 mins).

Cork: A Casey; J Mullins, M McSweeney, K Histon; K Flahive, S Cronin, E Lavers; R O’Toole, S White; S O’Donoghue, S Powter, R Harkin; B Coakley, P Kelleher, M Hurley.

Subs: S O’Leary for O’Toole (37 mins), D O’Duinin for White (45 mins, bc), C Kiely for Harkin (54 mins), S Sherlock for Hurley (57 mins), D Quinn for McSweeney (60 mins).

*Referee: *P Hughes (Armagh).