Electric Ireland MFC Final: Cork win thriller
Electric Ireland Minor Football Championship Final
CORK 3-20 GALWAY 3-14
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
These are encouraging times for Cork football with the Electric Ireland Minor title added to the collection at GAA headquarters.
A compelling encounter was decided by the remarkable resilience demonstrated by a Conor Corbett inspired Cork, who delivered with substance and style to secure a memorable extra-time success.
Having already tasted EirGrid Under 20 glory in 2019 this was another pleasant afternoon for Cork.
Ultimately Galway left reflecting on what might have been. Seconds away from triumphing Galway were beaten by a determined Cork, who were cool and calculated under duress.
Tight, tense, and tactical the opening period was satisfactory for Galway, who departed at the break armed with a 0-8 to 0-5 advantage.
That was chiefly due to the damage inflicted by a smart full forward line which glimmered with potential throughout.
The splendid Tomo Culhane was surrounded by two lively attackers in Nathan Grainger and Daniel Cox, who were motoring smoothly as Donal O’Fatharta’s outfit set the agenda.
At the opposite end Cork captain Conor Corbett did mine three first half points causing Galway problems with his considerable ability.
While neither team register a score until the eighth minute Galway went on to enjoy a productive burst prompted by Culhane.
Cork were struggling to contain the Salthill-Knocknacarra clubman, who clipped four points to edge Galway 0-4 to 0-2 ahead by the 16th minute.
When the interval rolled around the gap was extended to three with Culhane briskly adding two frees either side of a Patrick Campbell effort.
Galway had moved 0-10 to 0-6 in the ascendancy, but were then rocked by a Cork spell of supremacy which yielded 1-2 without reply.
Cork’s goal arrived in the 37th minute when Jack Cahalane rattled the Galway net following a Michael O’Neill pass.
Suddenly Cork only trailed by one and they were back trading on parity when Darragh Cashman thumped over a point.
A subsequent Corbett score had Cork 1-8 to 0-10 in front, but Nathan Grainger levelled in the 43rd minute ensuring the issue was delicately poised entering the last quarter.
It remained gripping until the end of normal time as the lead switched hands on numerous occasions.
Daniel Cox’s thunderbolt goal in the 57th minute had Galway 1-12 to 1-11 ahead but Michael O’Neill equalised from a free.
Culhane steered Galway in front. Cork’s response was a Luke Murphy point. The drama continued when Galway substitute Niall Cunningham slammed a goal in the third minute of additional time.
Once more Cork came swinging with Corbett replying with the major required; 2-13 each. Culhane had a last gasp opportunity with a free from an awkward angle. It was waved wide. Extra-time was required.
Cork started with energy and intent as a Ryan O’Donovan goal was quickly followed by a point from the crafty Corbett and when O’Neill added two more Bobby O’Dwyer’s side were six to the good.
Even though the bustling Cunningham blasted a goal in the dying embers, Galway couldn’t recover.
Scorers for Cork: Conor Corbett 1-7, Michael O’Neill 0-6 (3fs), Jack Cahalane 1-1, Ryan O’Donovan 1-2, Darragh Cashman 0-2, Patrick Campbell and Luke Murphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: Tomo Culhane 0-10 (7fs), Niall Cunningham 2-0, Daniel Cox 1-2, Nathan Grainger 0-2.
CORK: Cian O’Leary; Daniel Peet, Neil Lordan, Joseph O’Shea; Adam Walsh Murphy, Daniel Linehan, Darragh Cashman; Eoghan Nash, Jack Lawton; Hugh Murphy, Patrick Campbell, Kelan Scannell; Michael O’Neill, Jack Cahalane, Conor Corbett.
Subs: Sean Andrews for Peet (35), Nathan Gough for O’Shea (46), Luke Murphy for Nash (51), Ryan O’Donovan for Cahalane (60), Tadhg O’Donoghue for Walsh Murphy (69), Jack Cahalane for Campbell (76), Eoghan Nash for Lawton (76).
GALWAY: Donie Halleran; Jonathan McGrath, Ruairí King, Liam Tevnan; Cian Hernon, Ethan Fiorentini, Kyle O’Neill; James McLaughlin, Daniel O’Flaherty; Evan Nolan, Warren Seoige, Dylan Brady; Nathan Grainger, Tomo Culhane, Daniel Cox.
Subs: Conal Gallagher for O’Flaherty (52), Niall Cunningham for Grainger (56), Darragh Kennedy for Nolan (56), James Webb for Hernon (57), Mark Colleran for Brady (65), Daniel McNulty for O’Neill (76), Alan Naughton for Cox (76).
REFEREE: Noel Mooney (Cavan).