Royals rumble Rebels in league opener to leave Cork already on the back foot in Division 2

January 29th, 2023 4:03 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Cork's Stephen Sherlock scored 0-14 against Meath.

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CORK 0-19

MEATH 3-14


NOT the start that Cork hoped for, or wanted, as the Rebels slipped to an opening round defeat against Meath in Allianz Football League Division 2.

Cork had led 0-14 to 1-8 early in the second half but the concession of an unanswered 1-4 in a five-minute spell, between the 51st and 56th minutes, left the home side chasing the game at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.

Ultimately, the concession of goals caught Cork out and it leaves them facing two tough games (Kildare away followed by Dublin at home) with no points on the board.

Steven Sherlock brought his shooting boots and kicked 0-14 (11 from placed balls), but the Cork attack struggled for scores, with only Chris Óg Jones (2) and Sean Powter adding to the scoreboard. There was an over reliance on Sherlock. Meanwhile, the Meath attack carried a threat as Shane Walsh (1-7), Jordan Morris (1-2), Cillian O’Sullivan (1-1) and Matthew Costello (0-2) combined for 3-12.

Colm O’Rourke’s Meath had offered very little in the opening quarter, but Shane Walsh’s goal in the sixth minute, when he burst past Kevin O’Donovan to finish well, kept them in the game. 

Cork led 0-6 to 1-0 after 16 minutes with Sherlock (3), Matty Taylor, Maurice Shanley and Chris Óg Jones all on target. 

Meath, growing into the game, scored five of the next seven points to level the game, 0-8 to 1-5, after 25 minutes. Shane Walsh (2) led the Meath surge with Matthew Costello (2) and Cillian O’Sullivan also finding their range. 

Sherlock was in the mood though, and reeled off three in a row to push Cork back in front, with the Rebels also needing goalkeeper Michéal Aodh Martin to pull off a remarkable double save in the 29th minute, denying both Darragh Campion and Jordan Morris in quick succession. How easily the Cork full-back line was breached in the opening half was a concern, and it would come back to cost the Rebels in the second half.

Walsh pulled a point back for Meath just before the break but Cork were value for their narrow lead, 0-11 to 1-6.

The Royals shot out of the blocks in the second half as points from Walsh (free) and Morris hauled Meath back level, 0-11 to 1-8. Points from Jones, Sherlock and Powter looked to have put Cork in control when they led 0-14 to 1-8, but then the wheels came off. 

That Meath purple patch stunned Cork, with Jordan Morris grabbing the goal, as a three-point lead was turned into a 2-12 to 0-14 deficit. Cork had their own goal chance to stop Meath's momentum, but Colm O’Callaghan’s effort was saved, as was Powter’s follow-up.

Sherlock did halt Meath’s scoring run, but when Cillian O’Sullivan burst through the Cork defence and rifled the ball to the net, Meath led 3-12 to 0-15 with ten minutes left, and were not caught from here.

Meath off to a flier, but a defeat that leaves Cork in a spot of bother considering the two next games.



CORK: Steven Sherlock 0-14 (10f, 1 45); C Óg Jones 0-2; M Taylor, M Shanley, S Powter 0-1 each.

MEATH: S Walsh 1-7 (3f, 1m); J Morris 1-2; C O’Sullivan 1-1; M Costello 0-2 (1f); J O’Connor, C Hickey 0-1 each.


CORK: M Martin (Nemo Rangers); M Shanley (Clonakilty), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers); S Meehan (Kiskeam), R Maguire (Castlehaven), M Taylor (Mallow); C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s), E McSweeney (Knocknagree); S Powter (Douglas), B O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh); C Óg Jones (Iveleary), B Hurley (Castlehaven), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).

SUBS: T Walsh (Kanturk) for K O’Donovan (44), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for E McSweeney (52), L Fahy (Ballincollig) for R Maguire (54), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown) for B Hurley (60), R Deane (Bantry Blues) for S Powter (65).

MEATH: H Hogan; J O’Hare, M Flood, C Hickey; E Harkin, D Keogan, D O’Neill; R Jones, D McGowan; C O’Sullivan, J Scully, D Campion; J Morris, M Costello, S Walsh.

SUBS: S Crosby for D McGowen (temp, 12-14), A O’Neill for D O’Neill (ht), H O’Higgins for J O’Hare (49), J O’Connor for E Harkin (49), D Moriarty for D McGowan (52), S Crosby for C O’Sullivan (65).

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