Limerick District League’s hopes of winning the Inter County Youth Trophy for the first time since 2004 were dashed at the final hurdle in Blarney on Sunday afternoon when the home side recorded a 5-2 win.
Two goals in the final couple of minutes paints an unfair picture as the game was much closer that the scoreline suggests.
Martin Sugrue and Jason O'Connor had their side well prepped for the game and they matched their opponents for the opening 45 minutes but after the break the home side showed more guile were more and proved more clinical in front of goal.
Although beaten the Limerick lads can hold their head high, they battled for the 90 minutes against a very good Cork side that was riddled with International players.
The home side went close to opening the lead on five minutes. a slip by Clive Healy allowed Kearney a free run on goal and he cut into the box but as he teed up his shot a superb tackle by Steve Daly kept the game scoreless. Limerick's relief was short lived however as minutes later a corner kick was not dealt with by the defence and David Hurley nodded back across goal where Jordan O'Regan touched in at the front post. Mid way through the half the sides were back on level terms. a super run by Jack Barry on the right saw him skip past a couple of defenders and when he pulled the ball back across goal Dylan Kennedy knocked it into the path of Ruairi Casserly who drilled a low shot to the bottom corner from outside the box.
Cork regained the lead ten minutes before the break when Ciaran Kearney gathered in the box and, although outnumbered, managed to fire across the keeper to the bottom corner. Limerick responded well and another good run from Barry saw him put the ball across goal for Dylan Kennedy but his shot from six yards was crowded out by a number of defenders.
Limerick equalised on 37 minutes. David Hannon gathered in the middle, laid inside for ? who in turn teed up Casserly and, in a replica of the opening score, fired home from outside the box. Limerick suffered a blow a minute later when the lively Barry hobbled out of the action and they nearly suffered a double blow a minute later when O'Regan was presented with a point blank free header but luckily for Limerick the effort fired over the bar. Just before the break, a surging run by Ben Quirke saw him race past a number of the opposition and he pulled the ball across goal but unfortunately David Hannon's first touch let him down and the chance was lost.
The last action of the half was a rasping shot from Dean Swords which was well held by Limerick keeper Sean McNamara.
The home side started the second half on the front foot and pinned Limerick into their half. The pressure told five minutes in when a good run and cross by Kearney ended with O'Regan netting his second from close range.
Limerick were chasing the game for the third time and did create chances. A free kick from Quirke picked out Dylan Sheehan but his header was well saved. A few minutes later a Dean Shinnors through ball picked out Hannon but his flicked effort got a vital deflection.
With 15 minutes to play Casserley went within a whisker of his hat trick when his curling 20 yard left footer missed by inches.
The Regional striker had another chance minutes later when Quirke's high ball caught out the home defence but he took an extra touch and was swamped by defenders.
At the other end Stephen McNamara made a superb point blank save to deny Cork sub Chris Hull but the Cork man was not be denied and with time running out he let fly from 25 yards with a shot that struck the crossbar and bounced over the line.
With Limerick throwing caution to the wind they were caught short at the back as Kearney centred for sub Matt Whelan to complete the scoring.
CORK: Eoin O'Sullivan, Brian Cotter, Scott McCarthy, Troy O'Sullivan, Matt draper, Shay Daly, Darren Murphy, David Hurley, Jordan O'Regan, Dean Swords, Ciaran Kearney.
LIMERICK: Sean McNamara, Clive Healy, Ben Quirke, Dylan Sheehan, Steve Daly, Eoghan Cregan, Dylan Kennedy, Anthony Barrett, David Hannan, Ruairi Casserly, Jack Barry, Subs; Trevor Daly, Dean Shinnors, Aaron Murphy