Cork ease relegation fears with home win against Kildare

March 3rd, 2024 5:19 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Cork manager John Cleary

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CORK 2-15



CORK made it two Allianz Football League Division 2 victories in as many outings at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.

A poor first period was followed by a much-improved second-half display in which the Rebels built on last weekend’s win in Fermanagh. Brian O’Driscoll starred for a Cork team in which Conor Corbett, Colm O’Callaghan and Chris Óg Jones were equally impressive.

Tommy Walsh and Corbett’s goals were crucial on a day John Cleary’s defence conceded three green flags to the bottom placed county in Division 2. It didn’t matter in the end as the Rebels cemented a much-needed win to move away from the bottom of the Division 2 standings. Next up are Meath (away) and Armagh (home.)

A scrappy start was punctuated by Brian O’Driscoll’s opening score which bounced off the crossbar after four minutes. Kildare’s response was impressive, building from the back until Daniel Flynn broke clear and setup Alex Beirne to fire into the bottom corner. That was Kildare’s first goal in five games. Kevin Feely fisted over to extend the visitors’ advantage, 1-2 to 0-1 shortly after.

A pedestrian pace suited Kildare as Cork struggled to gain a foothold. Encouraged by their positive start, Kevin Feely curled over a beauty to make it 1-2 to 0-1 on the quarter-hour. Brian O’Driscoll was one of Cork’s few positives and kicked his second point to reduce the deficit. Yet, the Rebels’ sluggishness and repeated turnovers in the final third made for frustrating viewing despite O’Driscoll denied a shot on goal by Jack Sargent.

Rory Maguire notched Cork’s third score but, once again, Cork’s defence was found wanting as Daniel Flynn waltzed through for his side’s second goal on 22 minutes. Kevin Flahive came up from corner-back to kick Cork’s fourth point after Rory Maguire had to go off injured. Niall Kelly and Chris Óg Jones exchanged scores before a major turning point. Overturning Kildare deep in their own half, Cork counter-attacked at pace with Matty Taylor setting up Tommy Walsh for a terrific injury-time goal.

Down 2-3 to 1-5 at the break, Brian O’Driscoll brought Cork level a minute after the restart. Then, Conor Corbett edged the hosts back in front before Iveleary’s Chris Óg Jones made it a two-point game. A converted Kevin Feely free was the game’s first score not from open play after 43 minutes but Cork continued to press and an excellent Colm O’Callaghan effort made it 1-9 to 2-4.

Brian Hurley became Cork’s eighth different scorer courtesy of a close-range point prior to Conor Corbett pushing Cork four clear. Hurley kept the Rebels on the front foot with his side’s seventh score of the second period. Kildare failed to mount a response despite Daniel Flynn firing inches wide. Cork hit back in style however, Conor Corbett getting on the end of a flowing move to billow the net free 52 minutes.

Yet, just when it seemed Cork were in control, the concession of penalty saw Kevin Feely find the net to make it 2-12 to 3-5. Midfielder Colm O’Callaghan had a fine game and added his second and third points to push Cork further ahead. Chris Óg Jones compounded Kildare’s woes to make it 2-15 to 3-5 shortly after.

Niall Kelly and Kevin Feely frees brought some brief respite as Kildare looked to finish with a flourish. Sam McCormack and Daniel Flynn added another brace to make it 2-15 to 3-8 but Cork were not to be denied despite Kevin Feely notching the final score of the afternoon.


Scorers - Cork: C Corbett 1-2, T Walsh 1-0, B O’Driscoll, C Óg Jones, C O’Callaghan 0-3 each, B Hurley 0-2, R Maguire, K Flahive 0-1 each. Kildare: K Feely 1-6 (1-0 pen, 3f), D Flynn 1-1, A Beirne 1-0, N Kelly 0-2 (1 f).

Cork: C Kelly (Éire Óg); K Flahive (Douglas), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree), T Walsh (Kanturk); Luke Fahy(Ballincollig), R Maguire (Castlehaven), M Taylor (Mallow); I Maguire (St Finbarr’s), C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg); E McSweeney (Knocknagree), M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), B O’Driscoll (Carrigaline); C Óg Jones (Iveleary), C Corbett (Clyda Rovers), B Hurley (captain, Castlehaven). Subs: S Meehan (Kiskeam) for R Maguire (25, inj), R Deane (Bantry Blues) for E McSweeney (ht), S Powter (Douglas) for M Cronin (51), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s) for B Hurley (57), D Buckley (Newcestown) for C Corbett (67),

Kildare: M Donnellan; R Houlihan, M O’Grady, R Burke; P McDermott, E Doyle, J Sargent; A Masterson, K O’Callaghan; L Killian, A Beirne, S Farrell; K Feely, D Flynn, N Kelly. Subs: B Gibbons for A Masterson (41), C Bolton for L Killian (44), S Ryan for E Doyle (48), S McCormack for A Beirne (51), B Byrne for J Sargent (62),

Referee: David Gough (Meath).

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