Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park.
Cork and Mayo clashed this afternoon in Croke Park with a spot in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship decider on the line.
It was Cork who started the brighter of the two teams but Mayo drew first blood when Ethan Henry beautifully stroked a free over the bar from near the right-hand touchline.
Cork missed two relatively easy chances early on but settled themselves with a classy score taken by Patrick Campbell before disaster struck for Mayo. Luke Jennings has been in outstanding form all year between the sticks but he made an uncharacteristic mistake following the restart, clipping the ball straight to Campbell who bore down on goal before rounding Jennings and firing to the back of the net.
Mayo had the chance to respond almost immediately after Paul Walsh jinked his way through the Cork defence but unfortunately he pulled his shot well wide. Cork then took the game by the scruff of the neck when Jack Lawton rose high to claim Cian O’Leary’s kick out before going on a lung-bursting run that ended with Jack Cahalane pointing.
Hugh Murphy and Michael O’Neill both kicked two scores each for Cork while Ethan Henry and Ciarán Mylett tagged on points to keep Mayo in the game before Cork captain Conor Corbett got in on the act with a lovely trademark score.
The young Rebel men looked dominant but Mayo hung in there in large part thanks to Paddy Heneghan who kicked three excellent scores from midfield in what was a magical first half from the Castlebar man. With the final kick of the first half, Henry pointed yet another free to leave the half-time score at 1-7 to 0-7 in favour of Cork.
Mayo struck first blood in the second half through Owen McHale before Corbett grabbed his second to restore order. Mayo had a gilt-edged goal chance when Frank Irwin was put through. The ball wouldn’t sit up for Irwin so he attempted to pull on it, however, Joseph O’Shea came across to make a last-ditch block and divert Irwin’s shot out for a 45.
Shaun Dempsey ghosted up from wing-back to leave the score at 1-8 to 0-9 as the game entered the final 20 minutes. Campbell restored Cork’s three-point lead with a fine solo effort before Paddy Heneghan kicked his fourth score of the day from all of 45 metres out.
Mayo had been edging the second half proceedings and looked likely to mount a late rally, however, Cork turned the screw with a finely taken individual goal from Daniel Linehan. Wearing number three, Linehan collected the ball inside the Mayo 45-metre line before rounding the defender and driving a rocket of a shot past Luke Jennings. Cork’s goal was quickly added to by Ryan O’Donovan who scored a fine point to leave Cork six ahead heading down the home stretch.
How about that from Cork’s full-back Daniel Linehan! 🙌🏻🔥
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) August 10, 2019
Corbett added a third and a fourth goal for Cork either side of a Niall Feeney consolation goal in the final ten minutes. Cork now march on to the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Final where they will play either Kerry or Galway.
Cian O’Leary; Adam Walsh Murphy, Daniel Linehan, Daniel Peet; Darragh Cashman, Neil Lordan, Joseph O’Shea; Jack Lawton, Kelan Scannell; Hugh Murphy, Conor Corbett (c), Eoghan Nash; Michael O’Neill, Patrick Campbell, Jack Cahalane.
Seán Andrews for Joseph O’Shea, Ryan O’Donovan for Michael O’Neill, Keith O’Driscoll for Patrick Campbell, Luke Murphy for Adam Walsh Murphy, Shane Aherne for Hugh Murphy, Alan O’Hare for Jack Cahalane.
Conor Corbett 2-3, Patrick Campbell 1-2, Daniel Linehan 1-0, Hugh Murphy 0-2, Michael O’Neill 0-2, Ryan O’Donovan 0-2, Jack Cahalane 0-1.
Luke Jennings; Alfie Morrison, Oisín Tunney, Aidan Cosgrove (c); Shaun Dempsey, Ruairí Keane, Eoin Gilraine; Paddy Heneghan, Ethan Henry; Ciarán Mylett, Owen McHale, Dylan Thornton; Paul Walsh, Mark Tighe, Frank Irwin.
Rory Morrin for Ciarán Mylett, John Grady for Shaun Dempsey, Ray Walsh for Aidan Cosgrove, Ronan Hughes for Oisín Tunney, Ciarán Boland for Eoin Gilraine, Niall Feeney for Paul Walsh.
Paddy Heneghan 0-4, Ethan Henry 0-3, Niall Feeney 1-0, Frank Irwin 0-2, Owen McHale 0-1, Ciarán Mylett 0-1, Shaun Dempsey 0-1, John Grady 0-1.