Limerick's Emmet Rigter and Colin Walsh, of Cork, in action in the Munster U20 football semi-final at Ballyagran on Monday evening Picture: Brendan Gleeson
LIMERICK U20 footballers' season ended on Monday evening when Cork's two minute blitz at the start of the second half opened up a gap they could never bridge in the first-ever inter-county championship game held in Ballyagran.
In the end, Limerick bowed out of the Munster U20 championship at the semi-final stage at the hands of a slick Cork side on a scoreline of 2-15 to 0-5.
Conceding size and physique to the Rebels in almost every position on the field, the hosts were never given the opportunity to recreate their impressive win over Waterford a week earlier and deny their opponents the possession to feed a full-forward line that provided all but one of their score beforer the subs piled on in the closing minutes.
However, Cork didn't quite have it their own way before the break as Limerick held their shape at the back to keep the score down and struck on the break to keep in touch. In fact, most of winners' scores came in a three minutes spell around the quarter mark before the home pulled back the gap back to two coming up to the break.
Limerick's first attack ended with the free going wide while Conor Hanlon pointed off a mark in Cork's first but the hosts struck back through Darragh Murray's '45' and Emmet Rigter's free to take the lead. Play then slowed down to cautious movement in the middle third before the Rebels found a burst of inspiration as Ryan O'Donovan pointed twice and sent over a free before Darragh O'Mahony sent the kick-out back over the crossbar to make four points inside just three minutes.
Limerick regained their shape at the back but the high Cork line as well as the long delivery into their big men kept up the pressure and the gap moved to four when Hanlon sent over a free.
Coming up to half-time, however, the home side found some speed from their breaks from deep, resulting in frees for Rigter and David O'Shaughnessy to pull Cork's advantage back to 0-6 to 0-4.
Disaster rained on Limerick on the restart. Hanlon struck on 19 seconds, a throw-in resulted from the kick-out which ended with Colin Walsh feeding Hugh Murphy to stroke into the corner of the net and O'Mahony flaked a ground ball from a turnover over the bar as a two point lead stretched to seven within two minutes.
Any chance of a response disappeared when Hanlon was fouled and O'Donoghue dispatched the penalty, leading to a procession that saw O'Donoghue's '45' Hanlon, another O'Donoghue '45', Conor Daly, O'Donoghue and Paddy O'Driscoll find the target. Five minutes from time, Cormac Woulfe shot Limerick's only score from play which was met byO'Donoghue's closing free.
SCORERS: CORK: Ryan O'Donoghue 1-7 (1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees, 0-2 '45's), Conor Hanlon 0-4 (1 mark), Hugh Murphy 1-0, Darragh O'Mahony 0-2, Conor Daly, Paddy O'Driscoll 0-1 each; LIMERICK: Emmet Rigter 0-2 (2 frees), Darragh Murray ('45'), David O'Shaughnessy (free), Cormac Woulfe 0-1 each.
CORK: Callum Dungan (Carrigaline); Jacob O'Driscoll (Valley Rovers), Tommy Walsh (Kanturk), Dan Peet (Clonakilty); Darragh Cashman (Millstreet), Neil Lordan (Ballinora), Seán Brady (Ballygarvan); Keelan Scannell (Carbery Rangers), Alan Walsh (Kanturk); Richie O'Sullivan (Newcestown), Colin Walsh (Kanturk), Hugh Murphy (Éire Óg); Ryan O'Donovan (Barryroe), Conor Hanlon (Buttevant), Darragh O'Mahony (Ballincollig). SUBS: Adam Walsh-Murphy (Valley Rovers) for Darragh O'Mahony (44 minutes), Paddy O'Driscoll (Gabriel Rangers) for Richie O'Sullivan (47 minutes), Conor Daly (Clonakilty) for Hugh Murphy (51 minutes), Eoin Walsh (Clyda Rovers) for Colin Walsh (55 minutes), Fintan Fenner (Castletownbere) for Keelan Scannell (56 minutes).
LIMERICK: Shane O'Connell (Father Caseys); Eoin McGrath (Galbally), Patrick Hollan (Ballylanders), Ruadhán O'Connor (Newcastlewest); Seán Kilbridge (Father Caseys), Aaron Neville (Newcastlewest), Cormac Woulfe (Saint Senan's); Pádraig McMahon (Ballysteen), Darragh Murray (Monaleen); Jamie Baynham (Monagea), Emmett Rigter (Newcastlewest), Conall Ó Duinn (Monaleen); Kyle Mullins (Saint Patrick's), Darragh Bridgeman (Mungret-Saint Paul's), David O'Shaughnessy (Ballysteen). SUBS: Shane O'Donoghue (Ballylanders) for Kyle Mullins (half-time), Zach McCarthy (Galtee Gaels) for Conall Ó Duinn (37 minutes), Conor McGrath (Galtee Gaels) for Pádraig McMahon (39 minutes), Michael Cremins (Newcastlewest) for Seán Kilbridge (47 minutes), Todd Donovan (Newcastlewest) for Darragh Bridgeman (51 minutes).
REFEREE: Niall Quinn (Clare)
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