James Keating, Cork, and Craig Morgan, Tipperary, pictured ahead of the Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under 20 Final at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
James Keating, Cork, and Craig Morgan, Tipperary, pictured ahead of the Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under 20 Final at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.

Preview: BGE All Ireland U20 Final - Cork v Tipperary


Saturday August 24

Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under 20 Hurling Final

Cork v Tipperary, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 6pm

By Cian O'Connell

There is no shortage of sub plots attached to Saturday's highly anticipated encounter involving Cork and Tipperary.

A significant crowd is expected to gather at the LIT Grounds to watch the latest chapter in this rivalry unfold.

Jake Morris' delightful last gasp goal secured Munster honours for Tipperary with Cork left reflecting on what might have been.

Tipperary have subsequently hoisted the Liam MacCarthy Cup adding to the feel good factor sweeping through the Premier county.

Cork, though, hit Limerick armed with a talented team managed by Denis Ring, who is adamant that a raft of these players can make an impact at the highest level for the next decade.

Liam Cahill has also carried out impressive work with Tipperary with last year's stirring All Ireland Under 21 triumph highlighting what can be achieved.

That so many of that crop were involved with Liam Sheedy's extended senior panel in 2019 brought huge satisfaction.

"It makes me very proud to be honest to have played some small part in helping these fellas to the level they're at now," Cahill admits.

The Tipperary manager doesn't subscribe to the notion that the blue and gold players must deal with an extra burden following last Sunday's success at Croke Park.

"I think, to be fair to the Tipperary people, the vibes we're getting is that they're going to come and support us," Cahill says.

"There's not massive pressure on from a favourite point of view. They're very aware that this game on Saturday is going to be very, very close and it's going to be a lot more down to the wire than the senior game was on Sunday.

"I think the Tipp people are coming to really enjoy the game and really look to what's out there coming for the future more so than going with favouritism to win it. I think we're coming into the game in a nice position. There's no massive pressure on us.

Tipperary's Jake Morris looks like a hurler with a big future in the game.
Tipperary's Jake Morris looks like a hurler with a big future in the game.

"It's very much a 50-50 game and we will have to perform to our best to win and I think the Tipp people in particular know that as well and they're going to come in big numbers to support us."

At the penultimate stage Tipperary delivered a stunning display when beating Wexford by 8-16 to 1-15 at Nowlan Park.

The impressive Jerome Cahill, Morris, Paddy Cadell, Andrew Ormond, and Billy Seymour all contributed handsomely for Cahill's charges.

Cork, though, did exactly what was required when overcoming Kilkenny at O'Moore Park.

Tommy O'Connell was a key figure for Cork, while Ryan Walsh, Shane O'Regan, and Brian Turnbull also provided flashes of their considerable ability.

Turnbull's availability for the current campaign following a knee injury is a real boost for Cork according to manager Ring.

"It is, he gets targeted a lot," Ring says. "He was player of the year two years ago at minor. Everyday since then when he goes out he gets a serious targeting.

"People go to the match to watch the likes of Brian Turnbull, you want to see these players protected because they are what the game is all about.

"He is fantastic, he is an exceptionally good player. He is back, he is taking a lot of punishment in games, but he is a fantastic guy, and a fantastic player."

How the defences cope with two quality attacks will be vital with Ring stressing the potent goalscoring threat Tipperary possess.

"There's a lot of talk about this team in Tipperary," Ring states. "They are the kind of dream team as such from a youth perspective coming forward. They play very attractive hurling. They do go for goals.

"They present a huge challenge from our perspective to try and eliminate that threat, reduce that threat. They got three goals against us in the Munster final. If they get three goals, isn't good enough from our perspective.

Brian Turnbull has made a welcome return to action for Cork.
Brian Turnbull has made a welcome return to action for Cork.

"We're not going to win the match if we're going to be conceding four goals, three goals against Tipperary. They pose that threat and from our perspective it's going to be interesting to see how well we man up to that task."

On the flip side Cahill can vividly remember the pain suffered by Tipperary when losing to Cork at minor level in 2017.

A famous replay win was registered by Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn.

"That was knockout hurling that night, we thought we had it in Thurles three points up two minutes into added time of injury time after extra-time, but we get caught and rolled in with a last minute goal," Cahill remembers.

"Then we go to Pairc Ui Rinn for the replay with a packed house, Cork are all over us on the night and we just happen to cling on to something bringing it back to a point or two, but Cork get out of jail.

"It was a big motivation for us because we felt we had done enough the first night to kick on, to progress in that minor championship and we didn't. "We meet in the Munster Under 20 final two years later and it is the very same, this time we have the rub of the green. We are back again to do battle, the stakes are higher, they are every bit as intense if not more.

"We look forward to seeing where it will bring us. Whoever wins next Saturday the best team in the country will have won because I feel the best two teams are in the final."

It could go the distance.

CORK: Ger Collins; Conor O'Callaghan, James Keating, Eoin Roche; Ger Millerick, Sean O'Leary, Robert Downey; Ryan Walsh, Tommy O'Connell; Sean Twomey, Brian Roche, Daire Connery; Brian Turnbull, Shane O'Regan, Padraig Power.

TIPPERARY: Aaron Browne; Conor McCarthy, Eoghan Connolly, Craig Morgan; Niall Heffernan, Paddy Cadell, Bryan O'Mara; Ciaran Connolly, Jerome Cahill; Gearoid O'Connor, Jake Morris, Johnny Ryan; Andrew Ormond, Billy Seymour, Conor Bowe.