Brian Hurley captained Cork to McGrath Cup success.
Brian Hurley captained Cork to McGrath Cup success.

McGrath Cup Final: Cork claim silverware

McGrath Cup Final

Cork 0-19 Limerick 2-7

By Dylan O’Connell at Mallow

Cork lifted their first piece of senior silverware in five years by beating Limerick in the McGrath Cup final in Mallow on Friday evening.

John O’Rourke’s team, who bulldozed through Kerry and Clare in the group stages of the competition, were led by Steven Sherlock and Brian Hurley, with the pair of the forwards finishing the game with seven points apiece.

This tally is just one point to take from a dominating performance by the Rebels that began with a five point lead with just over 15 minutes played. Cork were near perfect during this run, with points coming from all members of their full forward line.

Sherlock curled over two frees and combination of Brian O’Driscoll, Hurley, and Chris Og Jones put the ball over to extend Cork’s lead. It was a free scoring performance thatdidn’t see Cork put the ball wide until Killian O’Hanlon’s miss in the 10th minute.

Limerick finally got on the scoreboard in the 17th minute with Cian Sheehan putting the ball over from the right. After Cork went straight up the pitch and Hurley got his second of the night, it looked like winning was all but a certainty. Then Jack Ryan was bundled down in front of the goal and a penalty was given, which Iain Corbett converted.

The Limerick captain followed this up by launching the ball over from open play and that evaporated Cork’s lead to a single point in the space of three minutes.

Cork’s response came from Sherlock, with the corner forward ending a nine minute scoring drought by converting a free. He had an opportunity to give his side a three point lead with seconds left in the first half, but this attempt went high and wide. Limerick snatched the ball from the kick-out and Cillian Fahey fisted the ball over, cutting Cork’s lead to a point.

Cork hurt Limerick at the start of the second half with Sherlock and Hurley kicking over scores. That helped put them into a seven point lead, and it finally looked like they had their cushion back once more.

Then green covered red and Cork lost the ball inside their own half. Limerick stormed into the penalty area and forced a number of shots on target, with this culminating in Davy Lyons driving the ball in from close range.

Cork comfortably saw the game out after this as they restricted Limerick to just two more scores in the remaining 23 minutes.

Scorers for Cork: Steven Sherlock 0-7 (7f), Brian O’Driscoll 0-1, Chris Og Jones 0-1, Brian Hurley 0-7 (1f), John O’Rourke 0-2, Colm O'Callaghan 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: Cian Sheehan 0-4 (3f), Iain Corbett (1-1),Cillian Fahey 0-1, Davy Lyons (1-0), Robbie Bourke (0-1).

Cork: Micheál Aodh Martin; Thomas Clancy, Daniel O’Mahony, Kevin O’Donovan, Luke Fahy, Paul Walsh, Matty Taylor, Colm O’Callaghan, Rory Maguire, Eoghan McSweeney, Killian O’Hanlon, Brian O’Driscoll, Chris Óg Jones, Brian Hurley, Steven Sherlock.

Subs: Sean Meehan for Thomas Clancy (HT), Tommy Walsh for Daniel O’Mahony (HT), John O’Rourke for Eoghan McSweeney (51), Ruairi Deane for Killian O’Hanlon (61),Cian Kiely for Luke Fahey (67), Mark Cronin for Steven Sherlock (70), Shane Meritt for Rory Maguire (70), Sean Powter for Paul Walsh (70).

Limerick: Donal O’Sullivan; David Connolly, Davy Lyons, Barry Coleman, Brian Fanning, Iain Corbett, Jack Ryan, Michael Donovan, Cillian Fahy, Gordon Brown, Cian Sheehan, Paul Maher, Adrian Enright, Cathal Downes, James Naughton.

Subs: Robbie Bourke for Jack Ryan (51), Killian Ryan for Sean O’Dea (67), Peter Nash for Gordon Brown (67), Colm McSweeney for Barry Coleman (70).

Referee: Brian Fleming (Kerry).