Cadbury Munster Under 21 Football S-Final – Cork 3-15 Clare 1-6

Cork defeated Clare by 3-15 to 1-6 in the Cadbury Munster GAA Football U21 Championship Semi Final on Wednesday at Pairc Ui Rinn.

O’Sullivan blow in Cork rout

Cork 3-15 Clare 1-6

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Cork breezed into the final of the Munster U21FC last night in Páirc Uí Rinn yet this comprehensive semi-final success over Clare was overshadowed by captain Rory O’Sullivan limping off in the first-half amidst fears he has torn his cruciate ligament for the second time in his career.

The Argideen Rangers player suffered the injury at the start of last season and missed out on Cork’s provincial U21 winning campaign. Last night served as his inter-county comeback but the midfielder was forced to bow out of action in the 19th minute after hurting his left knee in a challenge as he attempted a shot. “It doesn’t look good at the moment,” admitted Cork manager John Cleary afterwards. “It’s very unfortunate for the player. He’s going for a scan today and we’ll learn more then. Cruciate is the fear as he was in a lot of pain coming off. But he’s okay now and we really don’t know.”

The theme of injures featured heavily in Cork’s night with Donal Óg Hodnett, a shining light in the triumphant Munster championship side last year, unable to start in attack from the off due to a knee problem and Ilen Rovers’ Dan McEoin slotted in as his replacement. Hodnett incurred a knee injury in training yet Cleary is hopeful he will recover in time for the trip to Tralee on April 11th for a final showdown against Kerry.

Apart from those personnel losses, this was a straightforward night’s work for Cork. They endured a tentative start to the game as Clare, sharpened by the benefits of a first round win over Limerick, stormed into a 1-2 to 0-3 lead by the 20th minute. The Banner’s principal attacking weapon in the first-half was the towering frame of Darren O’Neill who they positioned at the edge of the square. He posed difficulties for the Cork defence with his ability to claim aerial possession and after firing a fine point in the 3rd minute, he raised a green flag nine minutes later when rising at the back post to fist a sideline ball to the net.

Alongside him, the trickery of Cathal McInerney surfaced on occasions and the Cratloe player nearly grabbed a second goal for Clare in the first-half, only for his shot to be deflected wide after a mazy run. However, Cork defender Alan Cronin stuck diligently to his task and kept McInerney scoreless from play in the second-half.

By the interval Cork had turned the match firmly in their favour with a devastating burst of 1-6 without reply. Jamie Wall’s composed finish to the net kick-started the scoring spree and as Cleary rightly pointed out after, it was the twin attacking blades of John O’Rourke and Brian Hurley that cut the deepest wounds into the Clare defence thereafter. Between them, O’Rourke and Hurley struck 0-9 from play, and their assured kicking was vital to Cork’s recovery.

Clare needed a swift flurry of scores after the break to vault them back into contention and while McInerney curled over an early free, Cork soon put the game to bed. A dynamic team move involving Ruairí Deane and Kevin Hallissey released Luke Connolly in the 33rd minute and the Nemo Rangers player billowed the net with a powerful finish. O’Rourke swung over a wonderful brace of points after that and although Clare carved open the Cork rearguard with a brilliant team move, Micheal Malone’s goalbound drive flashed wide.

From there to the end, the match was a procession for Cork. Despite O’Neill giving Clare an edge in the middle of the park with his height, substitute Eoin Healy’s tenacity ensured Cork frequently claimed primary possession. Mark Sugrue planted the ball in the net with his left foot for the Rebels’ third goal in the 45th minute to conclude the contest. In the closing stages, Cleary emptied his bench with Brian O’Driscoll enjoying the rare distinction of sampling Cork U21 action while still being eligible for the minor ranks this year. The Cork boss is looking forward to a final date with the Kingdom yet is hoping his players’ schedule before that will be cleared.

“I’m pleading with people there to give these lads a chance to prepare. Five of them had a championship game last Saturday and I don’t think it’s fair they’d a game again tonight. A Munster U21 final is a big game in their careers. We’ll be looking for the weekend before it free and we hope we’ll get it.”

Scorers for Cork: L Connolly 1-2 (0-1f), J O’Rourke 0-5, B Hurley 0-4, M Sugrue 1-1, J Wall 1-0, K Hallissey, D McEoin, D Drake 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: D O’Neill 1-1, C McInerney 0-2 (0-1f), P Dillon, S O’Driscoll, S Malone 0-1 each

CORK: S Mellet; D O’Donovan, D Cahalane, A Cronin; J Cronin, T Clancy, J Wall; R O’Sullivan, R Deane; K Hallissey, M Sugrue, J O’Rourke; D McEoin, L Connolly, B Hurley.

Subs: E Healy for O’Sullivan (inj) (19), B O’Driscoll for J Cronin (46), D Drake for Hurley (49), D Nation for Deane (51), C O’Sullivan for O’Donovan (54).

CLARE: W De Loughery; E Ralph, E Malone, M O’Connor; S Malone, S Collins, S Tierney; K O’Connor, C Ryan; E Finnucane, S Brennan, M Malone; C McInerney, D O’Neill, P Collins.

Subs: M O’Shea for Ryan (38), S O’Driscoll for M Malone (38), C O’Brien for M O’Connor (43), P Dillon for P Collins (46), R Linnane for Finnucane (52).

Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)

For the Record

Cork Clare
2012 Team Management John Cleary (Castlehaven – Manager), Mick O’Loughlin (Bishopstown), Donal McCarthy (Valley Rovers), Michael Linehan (Killavullen), Brian Herlihy (Dohenys) Colm Collins (Cratloe – Manager), Peter O’Connell (Shannon Gaels), Gerry Kelly (Kildysert), Michael Considine (Kilmurry-Ibrickane)
2012 Team Captain Rory O’Sullivan
(Argideen Rangers)
Shane Brennan
2011 Championship Performance Defeated Tipperary by 0-21 to 2-3 in the Semi-Final. Defeated Kerry by 2-24 to 0-8 in the Munster Final at Pairc Ui Rinn. Lost to Limerick by 2-11 to 0-15 after extra time in the Quarter Final at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick
Number of Munster Under 21 Football titles 22 0
Last Munster Under 21 Football Title 2011 N/A
Munster Under 21 Football Championship Record since 2000 Played – 26
Won – 20
Lost – 5
Drawn – 1
Played – 19
Won – 6
Lost – 12
Drawn – 1
Last meeting in the Munster Under 21 Football Championship 2005 Munster Semi-Final – March 26th at Kilmallock – Cork 3-15 Clare 1-7 – Goals by Michael Murphy, Paul O’Flynn and Daniel Goulding helped Cork to a 14 point victory over Clare.
What happened 3 years ago? 

2009 Munster Minor Football Championship Round-up

Defeated Limerick by 2-12 to 1-6 in the first round before losing to Tipperary in the Semi-Final after extra time by 0-13 to 0-10 in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Defeated Waterford by 1-15 to 1-5 in the first round before losing to Kerry by 2-10 to 1-4 in the Semi-Final at Austin Stack Park Tralee.

2012 Cadbury Munster Under 21 Football Championship Fixtures / Results

Quarter Finals

Wednesday March 14th

Kerry 0-11 Tipperary 0-5

Clare 2-7 Limerick 0-10


Wednesday March 28th

@ Austin Stack Park Tralee               Waterford v Kerry                                         @ 7:30pm

@ Pairc Ui Rinn                                  Cork v Clare                                                  @ 7:30pm


Wednesday April 11th

Venue permutations

@ Austin Stack Park Tralee               Kerry v Cork @ 7:30pm
(met in 2011 final at Pairc Ui Rinn)

@ Austin Stack Park Tralee Kerry v Clare                                                 @ 7:30pm
(last meeting in 2007 in Kilmihill)

@ Fraher Field Dungarvan Cork v Waterford                                          @ 7:30pm
(last meeting in 2009 at Pairc Ui Rinn)

@ Cooraclare Waterford v Clare                                         @ 7:30pm
(last meeting in 2006 in Dungarvan)

Extra time if necessary in all games

Munster Under 21 Football Championship Roll of Honour

Kerry (25) – 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2008

Cork (22) – 1963, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

Limerick (1) – 2000

Waterford (1) – 2003

Tipperary (1) – 2010

Munster Under 21 Football Cup

Corn na Cásca presented by the Football Council in 1966 to commemorate the jubilee of the 1916 Rising.

All Ireland Under 21 Football Championship

In Under 21 Football All Ireland Roll of Honour Cork have won 11 Titles and Kerry have 10 Titles to their credit. Cork were All Ireland Under 21 Champions in 1970, 1971, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2007, 2009. Kerry titles were won in 1964, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2008

Munster Under 21 Football Championship – Useful Information

  • Attendances for the Munster Under 21 Football Championship have grown by 153% in the period 2007 through to 2011. This is consistent with the 51% rise in attendances for all Munster inter-county football competitions during that period (not including replays).
  • All matches in this competition will be played under lights on Wednesday nights for the second consecutive year.
  • Cork have won 6 of the last 8 Munster Under 21 Football titles, winning 16 of their last 18 games in this Championship. Their only defeats since 2004 came against Kerry in Tralee in 2010 (0-19 to 1-8) and 2008 (0-15 to 0-10). Prior to 2004, Cork won just 2 of the previous 14 Munster Under 21 Football titles from 1990 to 2003 as Kerry won 9 of the 10 titles on offer during the 1990’s.
  • Clare have won 3 of their last 13 matches in the Munster Under 21 Football Championship dating back to 2003.
  • Though Limerick, Waterford and Tipperary have won this competition in this millennium, the combined record of the so called four weaker counties since 2000 is played 76, won 28, lost 45 and drawn 3 – a winning percentage of 37%.
  • Kerry and Cork have dominated this competition and only once in the history of the championship were one or both counties not involved in the final. That was in 2000 when Limerick played Waterford in the Final in Dungarvan with Limerick lifting the crown for the first and only time on a 0-7 to 0-4 scoreline.
  • For the record Cork have appeared in 36 finals: Kerry in 34 finals: Tipperary in 10 finals: Clare in 10 finals: Waterford in 8 finals and Limerick in 4 finals

Munster Under 21 Football Finals

1962                       @ Kenmare                                        Kerry                     2-7          Cork                       1-4

1963                       @ Clonakilty                                      Cork                       2-3          Kerry                     1-4

1964                       @ Kilmallock                                     Kerry                     0-15       Tipperary            1-2

1965                       @ Castletownroche                        Cork                       2-14       Tipperary            1-6

1966                       @ Cork Ath. Grounds                     Kerry                     3-8          Cork                       0-14

1967                       @ Listowel                                         Kerry                     2-12       Clare                     1-7

1968                       @ Kilrush                                            Kerry                     5-7          Clare                     2-9

1969                       @ Killarney                                        Cork                       1-14       Kerry                     1-11

1970                       @ Buttevant                                      Cork                       5-12       Clare                     1-7

1971                       @ Fermoy                                           Cork                       1-10       Waterford           2-5

1972                       @ Killarney