Jake Morris pictured celebrating his stunning goal in the Munster under-20 hurling final. Picture: Eamonn McGee
All heaven broke loose at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Tuesday evening, July 23 when Jake Morris' last gasp goal in the fourth minute of second half injury time rescued a gritty Tipperary team in the final of the Bord Gáis Energy Munster Under-20 Hurling Championship.
2019 Bord Gáis Energy Munster
Under-20 Hurling Championship Final
Tipperary 3-15 Cork 2-17
The Premier County appeared absolutely doomed when an Evan Sheehan goal propelled Cork into a two-point lead in the 58th minute - there was still time for Tipperary to mount a late challenge, but when a Darragh Woods effort was cancelled out by a Brian Turnbull cracker Liam Cahill's men still trailed by two (2-15 to 2-17) entering the fourth minute of second half injury time.
For the duration of this contest Jake Morris had been brilliantly man-marked by Ger Mellerick and although the Nenagh Éire Óg man had seen a penalty claim waived away in the 63rd minute Morris steadied himself, peeled away from Mellerick, collected a pass from Conor Bowe following a monster clearance from Craig Morgan in the 64th minute and from a tight angle buried an extraordinary effort to win this contest in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Irrespective of the magic moment conjured by Morris the real notable takeaway from this contest was the collective grit displayed by this Tipperary under-20 team - this terrifically genuine Tipp outfit won this provincial final against one of the most talented teams that Cork have ever produced without actually playing well. Now that is saying something.
In front of 9,117 paying spectators Tipperary ploughed through a huge body of work in the opening half and although the prevailing pattern of the contest favoured Cork the Premier County were level at the break (2-7 to 1-10).
Cork continued to set the pace for long stages of the second half, but this terrifically genuine bunch of Tipp players kept coming and coming. In the end Conor Bowe collected the man of the match award, but the aspect to this performance worth really celebrating was the spirit of the Tipperary lads - they struck at the work required to win right to the very last second and they were, rightfully, rewarded for that superb attitude.
Conor McCarthy and team captain Craig Morgan proved themselves superb man markers in the Tipperary full-back line while Paddy Cadell and Bryan O'Mara impressed at half-back. Ciarán Connolly and, especially, Jerome Cahill had a huge impact at midfield and although only Conor Bowe found his best form up front Jake Morris, Gearóid O'Connor, Billy Seymour and Andrew Ormond worked incredibly hard while Kian O’Kelly and Niall Heffernan made an impression off the bench.
Playing against a significant breeze Tipperary clung on superbly in the opening half and retired at the interval all square (2-7 to 1-10).
The attitude of the Tipp lads was well illustrated in the opening minute when two Cork shots were blocked down before another Rebel effort was hurried wide.
From there Tipperary drove forward - Andrew Ormond got the home side off the mark with a point in the second minute and although Dáire Connery (free) hit back for Cork Jake Morris picked out Billy Seymour with a terrific ball to hand in the fourth minute; the Kiladangan man then found Conor Bowe and he buried the opening goal of the game (1-1 to 0-1).
Cork, with the breeze encouraging them no end, got on top, however, and out-scored Tipperary 1-8 to three points between the fifth and 22nd minutes.
Points from Craig Hanifin (free) and Shane O’Regan set the Rebels on their way before an O’Regan sideline dropped short in the 14th minute and Seán Twomey presented his side with the lead (1-2 to 1-3). Points from Ryan Walsh, Seán Twomey and Craig Hannifin flowed from there as Cork streaked four clear with only Billy Seymour responding for Tipp.
Conor Bowe landed a badly-needed effort in the 19th minute, but Cork soon added to their tally through Dáire Connery and Shane O’Regan. Ciarán Connolly gave the home supporters something to cheer in the 22nd minute, but Tipperary were very fortunate not to concede a second goal seconds later when ‘keeper Aaron Browne deflected a point-blank effort from Shane O’Regan over the bar (1-4 to 1-9).
Although Tipperary were struggling and their touch appeared off Liam Cahill’s men were disciplined and working hard. And, their superb attitude (probably best encapsulated by Jerome Cahill in the middle of the field) yielded a valuable dividend during the closing seven minutes of the half when Tipp fired 1-3 (Cork: 0-1).
A brace of Jake Morris frees preceded a Gearóid O’Connor effort from play and, suddenly, Tipperary were right back in it. And, there was further encouragement in the 30th minute - in a rousing moment Ciarán Connolly drove a Cork defender over the sideline deep inside the opposition half; Kian O’Kelly grabbed Billy Seymour’s resultant sideline ball and then took on the Cork full-back line before flicking home a goal from close range.
Cork (through Tommy O’Connell) had the final say in the opening half, but you sensed that the Tipperary lads now had a significant body of work under their belts (2-7 to 1-10).
Photographer Eamonn McGee captured the moment when Jake Morris delivered the killer blow at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Tuesday evening in the Munster under-20 hurling final.
The Rebels were well on top during the opening seven minutes of the second half and although Brian Turnbull and Seán Twomey added to their tally the Cork lads also fired a series of wides during this dominant period while a Craig Hannifin free opened a three-point gap in the 40th minute before Andrew Ormond managed a response for Tipp (2-8 to 1-13).
Tipperary, however, were not hurling well and although they were battling gamely their prospects did not look bright at this juncture and especially when Billy Seymour’s goal chance was blocked in the 43rd minute following terrific work from Andrew Ormond and Conor Bowe.
The nerves of the Tipp fans were soothed somewhat seconds after when Jerome Cahill landed a smasher (2-9 to 1-13).
Cork must have been wondering how they were not further ahead and Jake Morris punished them with an equaliser in the 47th minute.
A huge cheer greeted a left-handed Bryan O’Mara effort from distance in the 48th minute - the Premier County now led 2-11 to 1-13. The Holycross-Ballycahill man had landed a rousing score and now it was down to his teammates to build on that terrific effort. And, build on it they did when Conor Bowe landed another mighty effort to force the home side two clear (2-12 to 1-13).
Tipperary, however, coughed up a free (only their sixth) in the 52nd minute and Craig Hanifin reduced the margin to one. In the 53rd Pádraig Power landed an equaliser and we braced ourselves for a grandstand finalé (2-12 to 1-15).
The next score was crucial and Tipp earned it when Andrew Ormond collected a Bryan O’Mara delivery and fed Conor Bowe who drilled over his third point from play in the 56th minute. Cork, however, responded with an equaliser, which arrived courtesy of corner-back Eoin Roche, but Conor Bowe landed another effort in the 59th minute to force Tipp back into the lead.
There was cruel, cruel heartache for Tipp, however, in the 60th minute when Evan Sheehan gambled on a break deep inside the 21-yard line and buried his stroke from close range (2-14 to 2-16).
Now Tipp required a miracle and in the first minute of injury time a Darragh Woods cracker presented the home side with a semblance of hope. Cork, however, responded soon after through Brian Turnbull. There was still time though for Jake Morris to bury a magnificent Tipperary goal in the 64th minute following superb work from Conor Bowe.
The Tipperary under-20 management team pictured back row from left: TJ Ryan (selector), Tommy Ryan (strength & conditioning coach), Liam Cahill (manager), Seán Corbett (selector), Kevin O'Sullivan (goalkeeping coach) and Michael Bevans (coach-selector). Front row from left: Paddy Julian (physio) and John Durnan (kitman).
Tipperary: Aaron Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), Conor McCarthy (Nenagh Éire Óg), Eoghan Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs), Craig Morgan (Kilruane MacDonagh’s, captain), Michael Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields), Paddy Cadell (JK Bracken’s), Bryan O'Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill, 0-1), Ciarán Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney, 0-1), Jerome Cahill (Kilruane MacDonagh’s, 0-1), Joe Fogarty (Moneygall), Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg, 1-3, 0-2 frees), Gearóid O'Connor (Moyne-Templetuohy, 0-1), Billy Seymour (Kiladangan, 0-1), Andrew Ormond (JK Bracken’s, 0-2), Conor Bowe (Moyne-Templetuohy, 1-4). Subs: (20th) Kian O’Kelly (Kilruane MacDonagh’s, 1-0) for Joe Fogarty, (HT) Niall Heffernan (Golden-Kilfeacle) for Michael Purcell, (45th) Johnny Ryan (Arravale Rovers) for Billy Seymour, (52nd) Darragh Woods (Holycross-Ballycahill, 0-1) for Kian O’Kelly, (65th) Ray McCormack (Borris-Ileigh) for Andrew Ormond. Remaining panel members: Eoin Collins (Drom & Inch), Robbie Quirke (Toomevara), Kieran Breen (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), Cathal Bourke (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Seán Hayes (Kiladangan), Conor Whelan (Carrick Davins), Devon Ryan (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), James Devaney (Borris-Ileigh), John Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla), Kevin Maher (Borris-Ileigh), Kevin McCarthy (Toomevara), Max Hackett (Moycarkey-Borris), Ronan Tucker (Burgess), Seán Ryan (Templederry Kenyons) and Stephen O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill).
Cork: Ger Collins, Conor O’Callaghan, James Keating, Eoin Roche (0-1), Robert Downey, Ger Millerick, Seán O’Leary-Hayes, Dáire Connery (0-2, 0-1 frees), Ryan Walsh (0-1), Tommy O’Connell (0-1), Craig Hanifin (0-4, 0-3 frees), Seán Twomey (1-2), Liam O’Shea, Shane O’Regan (0-3), Brian Turnbull (0-2). Subs: (HT) Simon Kennefick for Liam O’Shea, (47th) Evan Sheehan (1-0) for Shane O’Regan, (50th) Pádraig Power (0-1) for Robert Downey, (57th) Barry Murphy for Craig Hanifin.
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).
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