Cork will play Clare in the Munster U20 Hurling Semi Final next week after a deserved 1-20 to 0-16 points win over Limerick
After an untidy opening to the game Shane O’Regan knocked over the first point in the 4th minute to give Cork an early lead.
Ronan Connolly cancelled it out a minute late with a fine strike from midfield with the sun at his back.
It was a scrappy opening for Limerick who hit two puck outs directly out of play and were coming off second best to Cork in the opening skirmishes.
Shane O’Regan soared above Ciarán Barry to pluck the ball from the sky, turned and fired over his second of the match.
Mungret’s Rory Duff picked up a yellow card for a wild pull presenting Craig Hanafin with a chance to extend the lead to two. Daire Connery made it 0-4 to 0-1 a minute later.
Limerick’s Dylan O’Shea had a goal chance in the 13th minute but Ger Collins pulled off a superb save at the expense of a 65. Paul O’Brien converted to reduce the gap to two.
O’Brien repeated the dose with another converted 65 in the 15th minute which was followed by a superb Jack Ryan point from the right wing just one minute later to level proceedings.
Robert Downey found O’Regan once again with a clever diagonal ball and the Watergrasshill forward was precise with the finish for his 3rd point of the game.
Mark McCarthy levelled for Limerick once more making it 0-5 apiece. Brian Turnbull then announced himself to the tie with two scores to put Cork back into the lead.
Paul O’Brien kept Limerick ticking over with a free from the left wing. However, Shane O’Regan was causing problems once more for the Limerick defence, winning clean possession and drawing a foul from his marker allowing Craig Hanafin to extend Cork’s lead once more to two.
Points from Dare Connery and another Hanafin free make it 0-10 to 0-6 to Cork on the 28th minute mark and was a fair reflection of their opening half.
Limerick would have the last say of the half as Ronan Connolly and Rory Duff added scores in added time to make it Limerick 0-8 Cork 0-10 at the interval.
Craig Hanafin (play) and Paul O’Brien exchanged the opening points of the second half. Hanafin and Mark McCarty then repeated the measure as the sides went score for score once more.
Shane O’Regan edged the home side back into a 0-13 to 0-10 lead in the Paul O’Riordan reduced the gap to two with well worked score from fifty metres out.
Ronan Connolly then landed a superb score into the sun to reduce the lead to just one. Just two minutes later and Paul O’Brien made it a draw game at 0-13 apiece with 44 minutes gone.
Momentum had swung back in Limerick’s direction but Cork responded brilliantly with Brian Turnbull and Shane O’Regan points to retake the lead. Two minutes later and O’Regan was quickest to react to to Evan Sheehan’s shot with came back off the post after a brilliant Jason Gillane save, rifling the ball home for the game’s first goal.
Paul O’Brien kept Limerick in touch with two frees but it was Cork who held a 1-15 to 0-15 lead after 52 minutes. Eight minutes remaining and you got the feeling that Limerick would need goals.
Turnbull and O’Regan restored Cork’s 5 point lead and look to have put the game to bed as you couldn’t see Limerick getting the two goals required to overtake their opponents.
Cork would go on to add further points through Sean Twomey (2) and Darie Connery with Paul O’Brien responding for Limerick but it would not be nearly enough to effect the outcome.
Cork got on to book their semi final spot with Clare next week and were fully deserving of their 1-20 to 0-16 point victory.