KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS FROM PÁIRC UÍ RINN
THE Cork footballers turned on the style to book their place in the Munster SFC final – with Bantry’s Ruairi Deane a driving force for the Rebels.
Cork were really impressive in the first half of this provincial semi-final at Páirc Uí Rinn as they scored three goals in the opening 12 minutes to leave Limerick stunned.
Deane’s direct running and energy caused Limerick no end of problems, and with Brian Hurley grabbing two early goals, Cork took charge of the game.
In total control at the break, and leading 3-8 to 0-2, the result was never in doubt in the second half as Cork continued to call the shots.
After relegation to Division 3 of the league in the Spring and a disappointing campaign, this was a welcome win and performance against a Limerick team had beaten Tipperary in their Munster SFC quarter-final and who travelled to Leeside looking for another scalp.
Cork blitzed Limerick with three goals in the opening 12 minutes. After Mark Collins scored a free, Ruairi Deane played the ball in, Hurley turned his marker and drove the ball low across the goal.
Within minutes Hurley found the back of the net again. Deane, again, was the provider, and Hurley’s clinical low finish beat the Limerick goalkeeper at his near post. Cork now led 2-2 to 0-0. Only six minutes gone.
There was more to come. After John O’Rourke and Collins (free) points, Deane danced his way through the heart of the Limerick defence, showing great feet and composure, and slotted the ball home.
Limerick were shell-shocked.
All six Cork forwards had scored by the 19th minute when Paul Kerrigan hit the target, following another Collins free. It was 3-6 to 0-0. You could put a fork in this game now. It was done.
Collins scored his first from play as the points kept flowing.
It took 27 minutes for Limerick to score. Seamus O’Carroll got them off the mark and added another before Collins rounded off a superb first-half display with his fifth of the half.
Before that Hurley could have scored his hat-trick but his penalty – after Kerrigan was fouled – bounced off the post while Deane also had another chance that was squandered.
Cork were in total command at the break. They led 3-8 to 0-2.
After Collins scored the first three points in the second half – he finished with 0-9, four from play – Cork led 3-11 to 0-2. Cork never looked troubled in the second half as they ran their bench and Eoghan McSweeney (2), Ian Maguire, Mattie Taylor (2) and sub Stephen Sherlock all scored to round off a very comfortable win.
Next up are Kerry.
Cork: M Collins 0-9 (5f), B Hurley 2-0, R Deane 1-0, E McSweeney 0-3, M Taylor 0-2, J O’Rourke, P Kerrigan, I Maguire, S Sherlock 0-1 each.
Limerick: D O’Sullivan (3 45) 0-3, S O’Carroll 0-2, J Lee 0-1f.
Cork: M White; N Walsh, J Loughrey, K Flahive; L O’Donovan, Thomas Clancy, M Taylor; I Maguire, K O’Hanlon; E McSweeney, R Deane, J O’Rourke; P Kerrigan, B Hurley, M Collins.
Subs: A Browne for Loughrey (39), S Sherlock for B Hurley (44), L Connolly for J O’Rourke (46), K O’Driscoll for Deane (51), K O’Donovan for Thomas Clancy (57), R O’Toole for Maguire (61).
Limerick: D O’Sullivan; B Fanning, S O’Dea, P Maher; C McSweeney, I Corbett, G Brown; D Treacy, T Childs; A Enright, C Fahy, C Fahy, M Fitzgibbon; S McSweeney, S O’Carroll, J Lee.
Subs: T McCarthy for Brown (ht), P Nash for A Enright (ht), J Naughton for S McSweeney (ht), P De Brun for C Fahy (44), G Noonan for C McSweeney (56), R Lynch for M Fitzgibbon (56).