Cork pull clear late on against Limerick to book Munster final berth
Updated / Saturday, 10 Jul 2021 17:06
John O’Rourke bundles in the only goal of the game
John O’Rourke bundles in the only goal of the game
By David Byrne at LIT Gaelic Grounds
RTÉ Sport reporter

A first-half goal from John O’Rourke helped send Cork into their fifth Munster SFC final in a row after comfortably seeing off Limerick in an uninspiring semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday afternoon.

Limerick goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan suffered a match-ending injury during the goalscoring incident, after O’Rourke somehow managed to bundle the ball over the line in the sixth minute.

Cork led 1-06 to 0-04 at the break after a lacklustre opening 35 minutes before the Rebels pushed on to secure a place in the final in two weeks’ time.

Gordan Brown put Billy Lee’s side ahead after just 26 seconds but that proved to be Limerick’s only point from open play in the first half as Adare club Hugh Bourke kept his side’s hopes alive with three well-taken frees.

Lee had named an unchanged starting XV from the side that hammered Waterford in the quarter-final.

The Shannonsiders were 4-18 to 0-12 winners last time out with goalscorers Robbie Burke, Hugh Bourke, Cillian Fahy and team captain Iain Corbett all looking to help their side reach a provincial final for the first time in 11 years.

Cork named three Championship debutants with Daniel O’Mahony, Brian Hartnett, and Daniel Dineen, all enjoying their first taste of inter-county football at this level.

The opening goal of the game came just after six minutes with Cork half-forward John O’Rourke getting the last touch of the ball before it somehow bundled over the line.

The mix-up in defence resulted in a match ending injury to Limerick goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan who was replaced by Aaron O’Sullivan in the sixth minute.

However, Limerick responded well and the lively Danny Neville was pulled back by Sean Powter as he bore down on goal – Hugh Bourke slotted over the resulting free to bring Limerick to within a point.

Cork responded almost immediately as Brian Hurley got his first point of six.

Ruairi Deane and Iain Corbett battle for possession
Bourke tapped over his second free of the afternoon to narrow the deficit to just one yet again, but Billy Lee’s side made it all too easy for Cork as captain Ian Maguire eased through the Limerick defence to make it 1-02 to 0-03 at the first-half water break.

Hugh Bourke got the first score of the second quarter 13 minutes after the water break to make it a two-point game, but the next four scores came from Ronan McCarthy’s charges.

It was Cork 1-06, Limerick 0-04 at half-time.

Limerick had five wides at half-time, compared to Cork’s three. Brown’s opening point proved to be Limerick’s only point from play before the break.

O’Rourke and Neville exchanged points straight after the second half got underway, and Limerick narrowed the losing margin to five points as Bourke grabbed his fourth free.

Cork maintained their five-point lead at the second water break thanks to a point from substitute Cian Kiely.

Scores from Iain Corbett and Bourke weren’t enough as Cork began to pull away in the last 15 minutes against a tiring Limerick side.

Corbett grabbed the last point of the game but it proved too little too late as Cork advanced to the Munster final with an eight-point winning margin.

Limerick: D O’Sullivan; B Fanning, M Donovan; R Childs, I Corbett (capt.) (0-02), G Brown (0-01); D Treacy, T Childs; C Sheehan, C Fahy, A Enright; D Neville (0-02), R Burke, H Bourke (0-05, 0-05f)

Subs: A O’Sullivan (0-01, 0-01 ’45) for D O’Sullivan (6 mins, inj), B Donovan for R Burke (half-time), J Naughton for Enright, K Ryan for Sheehan (both 44), P Maher for Childs (55), J Ryan for Fahy (61)

Cork: M Martin; S Powter (0-02); D O’Mahony, K Flahive; K O’Donovan, S Meehan (0-1), M Taylor (0-01); I Maguire (capt.) (0-01), P Walsh; B Hartnett, R Deane, J O’Rourke (1-03); L Connolly, B Hurley (0-06, 0-04f), D Dineen

Subs: C Kiely (0-02) for Powter (43 mins), K O’Driscoll for Walsh (46), B Murphy for O’Mahony (51), M Collins for Connolly (60), M Hurley for O’Rourke (65)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).