Cork capture Munster hurling ‘Grand Slam’

Cork 4-08 Tipperary 0-13

Arch rivals Cork rounded off a sorry few days for Tipperary's hurlers by robbing them of a three-in-a-row in tonight's Erin Munster Under-21 hurling final.

With their seniors dumped out of the All-Ireland senior hunt last Sunday, Fr. Tom Fogarty's young Tipp side were doubly determined to prosper at Páirc Uí Chaoímh, and looked the better bet to succeed early on in front of the 5,434 attendance.

Armed with five seniors, including captain Francis Devanney, Tipp began the livelier and raced into a 0-05 to 0-01 lead by the twelfth minute.

Yet lacklustre defending allowed Cork, defeated by Tipp in both the 2003 and 2004 deciders, in for two goals in the space of six minutes.

First, the influential Maurice O'Sullivan batted home a Ronan Conway cross on 17 minutes, then Diarmuid Dorris, who hit 1-03 in all, leveled matters at 2-01 to 0-07 with a well-taken second.

Having squared it up at 0-09 to 2-03 at the break, thanks to a late brace of points from Tony Scroope and Wayne Cully, Tipp tallied up eleven wides by the finish. They failed to recover after Russell Rovers defender Kevin Hartnett arrowed home the Rebels' fourth goal from a late free.

O’Sullivan, who top scored with 2-01, bagged his second goal four minutes after the restart, yet Tipp kept ticking over with points from Scroope, Pat Shortt and Dara Egan.

Hartnett's goal, which eluded goalkeeper Patrick McCormack from far out to nestle in the Tipp net, sealed the issue and a late O'Sullivan point simply rubbed salt into the visitors' wounds.

Cork's four-goal blast was all the more historic as it secured them their first "Grand Slam" of titles since 1969, with the Rebel hurlers having already prospered at senior, minor and intermediate level this season.

The final win also secured winner's medals for Hartnett and Michael Naughton, the only survivors from Cork's 2003 team, at the third attempt.

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