CORK footballers’ reintroduction to life as a Division 2 team highlighted how much work they must do to bridge the gap to the top teams.
Despite an encouraging start and an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead, Cork somehow found themselves trailing to Kildare, 0-7 to 0-6, at half time of this Division 2 South opener at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
Two Kildare goals in the second half, from wing back Kevin Flynn in the 50th minute and the second from Jimmy Hyland ten minutes later, put this game beyond Cork as Jack O’Connor’s men surged 2-12 to 0-9 in front with ten minutes left.
Hyland adds a second goal for @KildareGAA
— eir Sport (@eirSport) May 15, 2021
By now, Cork were running into a brick wall as they struggled to break down Kildare, and while the Rebels did score the last five points of the game, they only managed two points from play in the second half. To make matters worse, sub Brian Hartnett received a red card for an off the ball incident late on.
It had started so much better for Cork. They raced out of the blocks with three points in the opening eight minutes. Cathail O’Mahony was first on the scoreboard, followed by Brian Hurley (free) and John O’Rourke before Kildare got off the mark in their next attack.
Cork were in control in these early stages and they stretched three in front again when Kevin O’Driscoll finished off a well-worked move with an outside-of-the-boot effort. A Jimmy Hyland free kept Kildare within striking distance and Daniel Flynn’s effort left only one point between the sides by the first-half water-break, 0-4 to 0-3.
While Ian Maguire hit the target after another incisive Cork attack, Kildare had settled into the contest and they kicked four of the next five scores before the break to take the lead by half time, 0-7 to 0-6. Luke Flynn, Darragh Kirwan, Paul Cribbin and Neil Flynn all found their range with just a John O’Rourke response sandwiched between for Cork.
While Hurley’s second free levelled the game early in the second half, Kildare were finding their feet and they had moved 0-11 to 0-8 ahead before they struck for their first goal. Ian Maguire did respond with a Cork point, but when Kildare added a second goal, the writing was on the wall for the Rebels who are already on the back foot in this division.
Cork: Cathail O’Mahony 0-6 (5f); Brian Hurley (2f), John O’Rourke, Ian Maguire 0-2 each; Kevin O’Driscoll, Ciarán Sheehan 0-1 each.
Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 1-2 (2f); Kevin Flynn 1-0; Neil Flynn 0-3 (2f, 1 45); Daniel Flynn, Darragh Kirwan, Paul Cribbin 0-2 each; Luke Flynn 0-1.
CORK: Micheál Aodh Martin; Daniel O’Mahony, Sean Meehan, Kevin Flahive; Paul Walsh, Sean Powter, Mattie Taylor; Ian Maguire, Kevin O’Driscoll; Colm O’Callaghan, Sean White, Ruairi Deane; John O’Rourke, Brian Hurley, Cathail O’Mahony.
Subs: Brian Hartnett for C O’Callaghan (ht), Daniel Ó Duinnín for B Hurley (39, inj), Ciarán Sheehan for K O’Driscoll (58), Kevin O’Donovan for S Powter (58), Blake Murphy for R Deane (63), Tadhg Corkery for I Maguire (67)
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O’Grady, Eoin Doyle; Kevin Flynn, David Hyland, Ryan Houlihan; Luke Flynn, Aaron Masterson; Alex Beirne, Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin; Jimmy Hyland, Kevin Feely, Darragh Kirwan.
Subs: Neil Flynn for D Flynn (30), Con Kavanagh for R Houlihan (52), Fergal Conway for L Flynn (54), Conor Hartley for A Beirne (54), Darragh Malone for P Cribbin (66), Brian McLoughlin for D Kirwan (70).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).