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2023 McGrath Cup Football Final – Cork 0-19 Limerick 2-7

January 20, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Cork defeated Limerick by 0-19 to 2-7 in the 2023 McGrath Cup Football Final on Friday January 20th at Mallow.

Green shoots aplenty for Cork after defeating Limerick in McGrath Cup final

Cork 0-19 Limerick 2-7

Report by Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper

The gardening experts will argue that seeds can’t germinate in frozen ground. And yet, it has been a January full of green shoots for the Cork footballers.

A first final win since 2018. A long, overdue end brought to the county’s run of seven final defeats. A run of three consecutive victories for the first time since the summer of 2021. A whole host of faces integrated back into the fold after absences stemming from 12 months to four and a half years.

You have half-forward Brian O’Driscoll back in red and motoring well. Daniel O’Mahony is back in the number three shirt. It’s a defence that has also welcomed back Tom Clancy. The latter started his first game on Friday evening since the Division 3 League win over Down in February of 2020, while the returning Killian O’Hanlon made his first competitive start since that year’s Munster final defeat.

The early results of the Sean Powter centre-forward experiment continue to read encouragingly. Behind him at midfield, there’s a confidence to Colm O’Callaghan’s play and point-taking that manager John Cleary must be rubbing his hands at. In front of Powter, Brian Hurley’s voracious appetite for work and white flags is a microcosm for the attack as a whole.

Hurley’s remarks in his acceptance speech that Cork have “a lot of work done” is plainly evident for anyone who took in their three McGrath Cup matches.

This time last year, an injury-hit Cork were thumped by Kerry to the tune of 12 points in the McGrath Cup final. Twelve months on, the injury list is gathering dust. Such are the healthy options at their disposal, management are in a position that they can rest some of the bigger names who were on Sigerson duty midweek. Not that centre-back Rory Maguire was showing any ill-effects from lining out in his second game in the space of 24 hours.

For all the green shoots, and they are plenty, the real stuff starts now. Cork have a daunting opening schedule to their Division 2 League campaign. Meath on Sunday week, then Kildare, then Dublin.

If points aren’t accumulated, the shine will quickly fade from what has been, up to now, a heartening start to their 2023 season.

Back to Friday evening. It was a poor McGrath Cup final. There wasn’t a whole lot of structure or shape to it. Limerick were poor full stop. Cork were more mixed. Some of their play was fluid and incisive, other bits were lapse and unnecessarily messy.

The winners were probably a touch disappointed to have a lead of only one point at the break. Rewind to the 21st minute when Brian Hurley kicked the point of the half when throwing over a mark with almost nonchalant ease despite the distance and angle facing him. Hurley’s second and Cork’s sixth had them five in front. It was a lead reflective of the game.

One inviting ball across the Cork danger area and foul on Jack Ryan later handed Limerick a ticket back into proceedings. Iain Corbett confidently dispatched the spotkick. And when the centre-back kicked from distance their first point from play on 26 minutes, the gap closed to one.

In front by 0-7 to 1-3 at the break, Cork squeezed on the accelerator. In the first 12 minutes after the restart, they outgunned Ray Dempsey’s Limerick 0-7 to 0-1. Game over. Three of those were Hurley points, four were Sherlock frees. Three of the bunch came from Limerick being turned over well inside the Cork half.

Davy Lyons, at the third time of asking, banged in a Limerick goal on 54 minutes. It cut the gap to three. No closer they came. This was Cork’s night. This has been a good January for them. Now, can they keep it going?

Scorers for Cork: S Sherlock (0-7, 0-7 frees), B Hurley (0-7, 0-1 mark, 0-1 free); J O’Rourke (0-2); C O’Callaghan, B O’Driscoll, C Óg Jones (0-1 each).

Scorers for Limerick: I Corbett (1-1, 1-0 pen); C Sheehan (0-4, 0-4 frees); D Lyons (1-0); C Fahy, R Bourke (0-1 each).

Cork: M Martin; T Clancy, D O’Mahony, K O’Donovan; L Fahy, R Maguire, M Taylor; C O’Callaghan, K O’Hanlon; E McSweeney, S Powter, B O’Driscoll; C Jones, B Hurley, S Sherlock.
Subs: C Kiely for Fahy (30-HT, temporary); T Walsh for O’Mahony, S Meehan for Clancy (both HT); J O’Rourke for McSweeney (52); R Deane for O’Hanlon (62); C Kiely for Fahy (67); P Walsh for Powter, M Cronin for Sherlock (both 70); S Merritt for R Maguire (74).

Limerick: D O’Sullivan; B Fanning, D Connolly, M Donovan; B Coleman, I Corbett, J Ryan; C Downes, C Fahy; G Browne, C Sheehan, P Maher; A Enright, D Lyons, J Naughton.
Subs: R Bourke for Ryan (50 mins); P Nash for Brown, K Ryan for Lyons (both 67); C McSweeney for Coleman (71).

Referee: B Fleming (Kerry).

Ticket Information

Adults General Admission – €10
Students / OAPs General Admission (Valid ID Required Upon Entry to Venue) – €5
Under 16s – Free admission when accompanied by an adult
There will be no cash sales at the venue.

Click here to pre-purchase tickets

Live Streaming

This game will be streamed live on the Sport TG4 YouTube page

Team News

Limerick: D O’Sullivan (Monaleen); D Connolly (Adare), S O’Dea (Kilteely-Dromkeen), B Coleman (Rathkeale); B Fanning (Pallasgreen), I Corbett (Newcastle West), J Ryan (Dromcollogher-Broadford); M Donovan (Galbally), C Fahy (Dromcollogher-Broadford); G Brown (Na Piarsaigh) C Sheehan (Newcastle West), P Maher (Adare); A Enright (Fr Casey’s), C Downes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), C McSweeney (Gerald Griffins).
Subs: C MacInnes (St Kierans), R Bourke (Adare), D Kelly (Newcastle West), J Liston (Gerald Griffins), D Lyons (Adare), T McCarthy (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), J Molyneaux (Dromcollogher-Broadford), P Nash (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), J Naughton (St Senan’s), E O’Shea (Monaleen), K Ryan (Mungret St Pauls)

CORK (V LIMERICK): Míchéal Martin (Nemo Rangers); Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty), Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree), Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers); Luke Fahy (Ballincollig), Sean Powter (Douglas), Matty Taylor (Mallow); Colm O’Callaghan (Eire Óg), Rory Maguire (Castlehaven); Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree), Killian O’Hanlon (Kilshannig), Brian O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh); Chris Óg Jones (Iveleary), Brian Hurley (Castlehaven), Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).
SUBS: Christopher Kelly (Eire Óg), Tommy Walsh (Kanturk), Paul Ring (Aghabullogue), Sean Meehan (Kiskeam), Cian Kiely (Ballincollig), Shane Merrit (Mallow), Paul Walsh (Kanturk), John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), Ruairi Deane (Bantry Blues), Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers), Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty), Darragh Cashman (Millstreet).

Match Programme

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the match programme on Friday night.


January 20, 2023
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Mallow GAA Complex

GAA Units