Padraic Joyce’s Galway U20 side followed up their comprehensive victory over Kildare with a closely fought 1-11 to 0-12 win over a very physically strong Cork side.
The game was nip and tuck throughout with Cork having the better of the opening exchanges. Cork seemed to adapt better to the tricky cross wind in Claughan which caught out players on numerous occasions. Joyce, however, will be very pleased with how his side dug in with sheer graft to get on top of their Munster opponents.
Galway opened the scoring within the first minute as Darragh Silke collected the ball on the left wing and kicked a sweet score off his right boot. It first appeared as if Galway were going to overwhelm their opposition but a number of missed opportunities, three wides in total within the space of a few minutes, allowed Cork to gain a foothold in the game. The impressive Cathal O’Mahony of Cork kicked a number of beautiful scores, judging the wind perfectly to have Cork in the driving seat after the first quarter had elapsed.
Galway kept in touch with their opponents as wing backs Jack Kirrane and the tireless Liam Boyle drove forward to kick crucial scores when their team was struggling. Cork hit back to go two points in front as the halftime whistle neared but were pegged back in the final few minutes as Silke kicked a ’45 and a free to leave the sides level at seven points apiece at the interval.
There were sure to have been some harsh words in the Galway dressing room at half time as they failed to reach the heights of their previous weekend’s exploits. A number of sloppy kick passes and dropped balls will be sure to have angered the management team who had seen them move the ball so swiftly and skilfully against Kildare the week before.
Galway came out of the blocks faster than their Lee-side counterparts in the second half. A brilliant score from Rory Cunningham after taking on his man put Galway in front. The sides went score for score until the key moment of the match came from Liam Boyle, who burst the net after a superb driving run from Maitias Barrett at midfield. From there on Galway never really looked in trouble and saw the game out well. Silke kicked a beauty off the outside of his left from the left wing and two more frees to kill the game off for Galway.
Joyce will have been extremely pleased with the way in which his side ground out victory when things were not going their way in the first half.