All-Ireland U20 Hurling Final: Cork defeat Dublin to end famine
2020 Bord Gáis All-Ireland U-20 Hurling Final
CORK 2-19 DUBLIN 1-18
By John Harrington at UPMC Nowlan Park
Cork’s 16-year wait without an All-Ireland hurling title is finally over.
If you want to be technical about it their famine lasted ‘only’ 15 years, because it was ended by their 2020 U-20 team who proved too good for Dublin in a competition that couldn’t be completed last year due to Covid-19.
You have to go back to the 2005 All-Ireland senior title for Cork’s last win of this magnitude, and the long stretch without national championship silverware has been hard to stomach for a county of such tradition in the game.
This long-awaited win was all the sweeter because Cork had lost the last two Finals in this grade to Tipperary, with each defeat traumatic in different ways.
There was no danger of further trauma here, with the young Rebels looking a cut above a battling Dublin for most of the match
They scored their first point after 25 seconds and landed two more inside the first two minutes, and that fast start testified to the frame of mind they brought to the contest.
Not only did they look more ravenous for success than Dublin, their superior skill-set was also quickly apparent.
Their first touch was more sure, their movement in attack more varied, and their finishing more clinical than Dublin’s too.
With Cork seniors Shane Barrett and Alan Connolly looking threatening early on, the Rebels tore out of the blocks and were 1-4 to no score ahead by the eight minute.
Connolly played a big part in the goal, somehow jinking his way past a cluster of would-be Dublin tacklers to eventually cut through on goal and pass to the supporting Padraig Power whose shot was saved by Dublin goal-keeper Eddie Gibbons.
The rebound came straight to Sean Twomey who batted it to the back of the net for a goal that put his team firmly in control.
Dublin finally got the scoreboard moving with points from lively corner-forwards Liam Murphy and Dara Purcell.
The problem was they were finding it difficult to get ball into those inside-forwards on anything like a regular basis because Cork’s half-backs and midfielders were very much on top.
That sector of the field scored four points from play in the first half for Pat Ryan's team, and by the break they were well in control leading by 1-11 to 0-7.
Dublin got the fast start they needed to the second-half when Dara Purcell pointed seconds after the throw-in, the first sign that the Sky Blues were ready to up the ante.
Their cause was helped further when centre-forward, Michael Murphy, thundered into the game, scoring two points in quick succession that cut the gap to five.
By now it was an end to end game as both teams traded punch and counter-punch until the second-half water-break by which time Dublin's deficit remained five points with Cork leading by 1-15 to 0-13.
A Darragh Power point from distance for Dublin briefly closed the gap to four points, but that’s as close as they would get because Cork struck for a decisive second goal on 50 minutes.
Wing-forward Brian Roche showed good pace to bear down on goal and then offload a well-timed pass to Padraig Power who crashed the sliotar to the back of the net.
When substitute Brian Hayes followed up with two points in space of a minute it looked like Cork would coast from there, but, credit to Dublin, they were determined not to go down without a fight.
A terrific team move finished with another fine point from Purcell, and then when substitute Luke McDwyer drove the ball to the net the gap was briefly back to four points again as the game ticked into extra-time.
A Jack Cahalane point settled jangling Cork nerves with the final score of the match a Liam Murphy free that only improved the final scoreline cosmetically from a Dublin point of view.
Cork’s long wait for an All-Ireland title is over, and they’re very deserving champions.
Scorers for Cork: Pádraig Power 1-1, Seán Twomey 1-0, Shane Barrett 0-3, Daire Connery 0-3 (2f), Alan Connolly 0-3 (2f), Darragh Flynn 0-2, Tommy O’Connell 0-2, Colin O’Brien 0-2 (1 sideline), Brian Hayes 0-2, Jack Cahalane 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Liam Murphy 0-6 (3f), Dara Purcell 0-4, Luke McDwyer 1-0, Michael Murphy 0-3, Kevin Desmond 0-2, Eddie Gibbons 0-2 (2f), Darragh Power 0-1.
CORK: Eoin Davis; Conor O’Callaghan, Eoin Roche, Aaron Walsh Barry; Daire Connery, Ciarán Joyce, Dáire O’Leary; Darragh Flynn, Tommy O’Connell; Brian Roche, Shane Barrett, Seán Twomey; Pádraig Power, Alan Connolly, Colin O’Brien. Subs: Jack Cahalane for Colin O’Brien (40), Eoin Carey for Sean Twomey (41), Brian Hayes for Alan Connolly (49), Shane O’Regan for Darragh Flynn (52),
DUBLIN: Eddie Gibbons; Tommy Kinnane, Andrew Dunphy, Alan Murphy; Enda O’Connell, Kevin Burke, Iain Ó hEither; Mark Sweeney, Darragh Power; Darach McBride, Micheál Murphy, Lee Gannon; Dara Purcell, Kevin Desmond, Liam Murphy. Subs: Donal Leavy for Enda O’Donnell (39), Ciarán Foley for Mark Sweeney (45), Luke McDwyer for Darach McBride (47), Brian Sheehy for Tommy Kinnane (55), Pádhraic Linehan for Darragh Power (56), Donal Leavy for Michael Murphy (57)
Referee: John Keenan