Brian Turnbull produced another classy display on Sunday as he guided the Cork minors to victory over Dublin.
While the famed Cork production line may have stalled momentarily in the noughties, it is truly kicking back into gear in recent years.
Cork claimed the inaugural u-17 All-Ireland title last weekend with a 1-19 to 1-17 victory over Dublin last weekend. As well as this, Cork swept the boards at all ages last summer from u-14 up to u-16 in both A and B competitions.
The latest product seems like a ready made clone of current senior star, Alan Cadogan. Brian Turnbull is a diminutive corner forward with quicksilver feet, a first touch that would stop a bullet in its tracks, an unerring ability to draw frees and even hails from Douglas.
He has proved himself to be the focal point of this impressive Cork team so far in the minor championship, having scored 0-44 thus far in the championship.
Turnbull has lit up this year’s championship with some scintillating scoring performances. He started his plundering of defences with a haul of 0-10 against Waterford back in May. He followed this up with two strong performances in the roller-coaster outings against Tipperary which saw returns of 0-09 (0-05 frees) and 0-08 (0-04 free) points respectively.
In the Munster final, Turnbull was earmarked as the danger man and targeted as such. He still managed 0-04 (0-02 frees) in his quietest outing to date.
On Sunday, in the open environs of Croke Park, the Douglas man thrived.
He won an endless supply of frees and finished with 0-13 (0-11 frees) to this name.
His most impressive score came deep in injury time. Cork had looked comfortably in control for the majority of the game but a late Dublin goal left Cork hanging onto a precarious two-point lead. The ball was worked down the line to Turnbull and, as he has done all year, the Cork number 15 won his own ball, showed his man a clean pair of heels and threw over a super point from a tight angle on the left touchline.
Despite the lack of bulk, Turnbull stood up tall when the pressure came on, just as he did in Cork’s previous two tight encounters with Tipp, in Munster. Cork saw off the Dubs by 0-23 to 2-13.
With players the calibre of Brian Turnbull, as well as free scoring midfielder Daire Connery, man mountain full back Sean O’ Leary-Hayes and teak-tough corner back Conor O’ Callaghan coming through the ranks, Cork hurling is in safe hands.
Noel Ryan, Pundit Arena