Cork u20 Hurling 2023

Fantastic stuff there tonight lads, absolutely thrilled with that.

We overplay the ball at times but Ben and his management team have instilled a ferocious attitude in this group of young lads. We could talk all day about that Mullins goal or that Cunningham pick up or Healys catch and point but what I love about these lads is they have a spikey element to their play. They simply wire into teams sometimes with little enough provocation. They really don't take a backward step. At one stage in the first half a Clare player tried to flick a ball over Howells head and Howell put the Clare lad back on his arse for trying it. I couldn't help but think how many times over the last 15 years have we seen a Cork player just leave a play like that develop.

They made so many mistakes at times as well tonight and never left it bother them. O Sullivan was done for overcarrying early on and was at fault for the goal but didn't put a foot wrong after that and was crucial to our recovery. Great mental strength. Our half forward disappeared for about 10 minutes after halftime next thing Cunningham and then Healy fetch high balls under pressure and swing them over to keep us in contention. That's leadership. The hooking, the blocking. Just doing the basics right most of the time. Wonderful stuff.

I'd be worried again tonight that we are making things too hard for ourselves. Sometimes overplaying it. Forcing goal chances that should have been stuck over and giving a handpass or short stick pass to a marked man. I'd prefer to see Mullins back at wingback for the All Ireland final as well. Anyway that's all for discussion another day.

Credit to Clare. That's a fine team they have. Hard to be critical of a team that dies with its boots on and that's what they did tonight. They really troubled us for large parts of that game and I'd expect to see John Connolly and Patrick Crotty get game time in next year's league for them.

I also think we should acknowledge the county board on this one (ducks for cover) seriously I've had my share of complaints with "that shower above in de pairc" on numerous occasions but they went out and got Ben O Connor and from what I've been told have seemingly backed him to the hilt with everything he's asked for. It's great to have Ben, Ronan Curran and Nash involved tonight, Wayne Sherlock with the seniors and Sean Og and Fraggy Murphy with the minors. Bad old days firmly in the rear view mirror now. Just need to get our hands on Liam Mac to put the world to rights.
 
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Just home from Limerick, with a big smile on my face! What a sweet victory in the Gaelic Grounds tonight when it looked like we were goosed!

Clare had all the momentum in the 2nd half. 5400 people were in attendance. At least 4000 were from Clare. Cork were up 4 points at the half time break and Clare got out of the traps like rockets in the 2nd half and shot into a 4 point lead by the 40th minute. The Banner Roar from the crowd really got behind this Clare team and it looked like it was going to be Clare's night. Clare were out in front, Clare were the ones breaking forward and they caused our full back line trouble in that early 3rd quarter. Clare underage teams have been very impressive in the last couple of years and tonight was an example of this.

But massive credit to our lads. From the 45th minute to the end, we never panicked. We found an extra gear to help pull this game out of the fire. Our subs brought a bit of freshness and energy which was badly needed.

My man of the match was Tadhg O' Connell, midfield. From start to finish, I thought he was outstanding. He got on a show of ball. Always willing to break forward and caused Clare problems all night with his runs. Shout out to captain Mícheál Mullins who put in another huge shift tonight. A big night for his club Whitechurch. Diarmuid Healy and Ben Cunningham came up with some massive plays too in the second half when our backs were to the wall.

There is a great spirit in this team, to which both the players and management deserve huge credit for. 5 wins out of 5 games in a hard earned Munster Championship. Onto the All Ireland Final now against either Offaly or Wexford. Both teams have been very impressive in their respective Leinster campaigns.

But tonight was about getting over the line and I think we built a lot of character now. We cannot afford to be complacent in the final. We have the capabilities to win this out but we need to be ready for battle Ben and the lads know this.

All in all a great night for Cork hurling. Slowly but surely, Cork hurling is on the way back. Rebels abú!
 
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https://munster.gaa.ie/event/2020-e...ling-championship-quarter-final-cork-v-clare/

The corresponding fixture at minor level. Howell in the forwards seems a bit mad...did he actually play there?

He had a stormer tonight and has done well any time he's been on the pitch this campaign.

I said it after the last game. Huge credit to everyone in Clare for turning this team around. They're a fine side and will get a few good seniors from that group without question.
 
Cork made a little bit of history tonight - they became the first team at minor, U20 or senior to win every match in a Munster championship played on a round-robin format (i.e., winning all their round-robin games plus the final). This was the first round-robin at U20, including this year there have been three at minor and four at senior.

Someone on here a couple of weeks back mentioned how crucial it is to have Cork teams with the confidence and composure to chisel out results even when playing badly. It's hard to overstate how important that is, and I reckon it can get inside the heads of the opposition, knowing that no matter if they are well on top, Cork will keep coming back and more often than not find a way to do it. This Cork team were badly rattled in the third quarter, no doubt about it, but they steadied themselves and closed it out. We can talk about the playing style and their infuriating tendancy to drift out of every game for a period, but that ability to just find a way to win reflects very well on the coaches as well as the players, imo.
 
We were the better team but managed to make the game harder for ourselves than it should have been.

I was most impressed with Kingston, Mullins, O Connell, Cunningham and I rate Healy higher than any of them I just think he will make a top class senior.

Ben O Connor did not have z great night but I think that is clearly down to a lack of hurling. He is a huge loss to Cork hurling.

Another All Ireland final at this level is huge and more than half the team under age again next year.

Let's go and win it now.
 
https://munster.gaa.ie/event/2020-e...ling-championship-quarter-final-cork-v-clare/

The corresponding fixture at minor level. Howell in the forwards seems a bit mad...did he actually play there?

He had a stormer tonight and has done well any time he's been on the pitch this campaign.

I said it after the last game. Huge credit to everyone in Clare for turning this team around. They're a fine side and will get a few good seniors from that group without question.
Yes Howell played in the forwards that year
 
They're a really fine team, deserved winners.
Going down the home strait, nerves of steel, strength, speed and skill - great to see it.

Not sure how Wexford or Offaly compare, hard to gauge the Leinster teams.
If the final is played in Thurles it's going to be like a home game for us, hopefully they won't send us anywhere more "neutral" like Port Laoise!
 
They're a really fine team, deserved winners.
Going down the home strait, nerves of steel, strength, speed and skill - great to see it.

Not sure how Wexford or Offaly compare, hard to gauge the Leinster teams.
If the final is played in Thurles it's going to be like a home game for us, hopefully they won't send us anywhere more "neutral" like Port Laoise!
Surely Thurles if Offaly win.

Could they send us to Nowlan Park if Wexford win I wonder?

Then again they could do something mental and play it in Croke Park.
 
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