Reports from Páirc Uí Chaoimh for 42.ie
THE PÁIRC UÍ Chaoimh doors were opened again, a new pitch surface rolled out and Cork’s footballers began life in Division 3 on a positive note.
They accounted for Offaly in their opening league run out tonight, getting their game together as the match unfolded and benefitting from a powerful scoring contribution from their bench.
2,356 were in attendance to see Ronan McCarthy’s team begin their attempt to mount a swift response to relegation from the second tier spring. He was glad of being able to utilise his reserves to get them over the line.
Michael Hurley only entered the action for the start of the second half but had picked off five points by the finish. John O’Rourke weighed in with a brace while points from the emerging pair of Tadhg Corkery and Colm O’Callaghan swelled the return from their substitutes further.
And Cork needed that extra ingredient as they were given a reminder early on of the necessity for proper focus. John Maughan’s Offaly team moved with purpose and their confident kicking in front of goal entitled them to be in the ascendancy, 0-7 to 0-3 by the 20th minute.
At the midway mark of the first half, all three of Offaly’s inside forwards had clipped over points from play. Anton Sullivan and Bernard Allen buzzed with intent, but the latter was sent to the sin bin before the break in a setback for his charges.
Cork deployed Ciaran Sheehan in a roving role from his full-forward berth early on. It paid off with a pair of neatly converted points and he set up another. Sean White tried to get things going from centre-forward as well yet too often Cork’s attacks broke down when they were closing in on Paddy Dunican’s goal. The Offaly netminder stood tall to beat away a stinging drive from Ian Maguire in the 16th minute and repeated that act to deny the same player in the second half.
Given their early difficulties Cork would have been reasonably satisfied to be only 0-9 to 0-8 adrift at the break. They kicked the first four points of the second half and that set the tone for their eventual success.
Offaly were left disappointed after how well they had showed up early on. During Allen’s time off the pitch, Cork moved in front and Offaly never came close to overhauling them on the scoreboard once more.
By the three-quarter mark Cork were still not out of sight despite commanding the play but they popped over six points after the 62nd minute to affirm their position of strength. Defenders Sean Powter and Sam Ryan made comebacks from severe hamstring injuries to put in good shifts during this win.
They make the trek to Carrick-on-Shannon next week while Offaly will host Longford.
Scorers for Cork: Michael Hurley 0-5 (0-1f), Cathal O’Mahony (0-2f), Ciaran Sheehan (0-1f) 0-3 each, Sean White, John O’Rourke 0-2 each, Brian Hartnett, Ruairi Deane, Colm O’Callaghan, Kevin Crowley, Tadhg Corkery 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: Bernard Allen 0-5 (0-2f), Anton Sullivan 0-4, Ruairi McNamee 0-3 (0-1f), Cian Johnson 0-1.
1. Micheál Martin (Nemo Rangers)
2. Sean Powter (Douglas)
3. Sam Ryan (St Finbarrs)
4. Paul Ring (Aghabullogue)
5. Kevin Crowley (Millstreet)
6. Liam O’Donovan (Clonakilty)
7. Mattie Taylor (Mallow)
8. Ian Maguire (St Finbarrs)
21. Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty)
12. Ruairí Deane (Bantry)
11. Sean White (Clonakilty)
10. Brian Hartnett (Douglas)
13. Damien Gore (Kilmacabea)
14. Ciaran Sheehan (Eire Óg)
15. Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown)
25. Michael Hurley (Castlehaven) for Gore (half-time)
24. John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for Clancy (49)
22. Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg) for O’Mahony (55)
18. Tadhg Corkery (Cill Na Martra) for O’Donovan (58)
17. Peter Murphy (Bandon) for Sheehan (67)
1. Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks)
2. Declan Hogan (Tullamore)
3. Eoin Rigney (Rhode)
4. Niall Darby (Rhode – captain)
5. Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)
6. David Dempsey (Ballycommon)
7. Jordan Hayes (Edenderry)
8. Cathal Mangan (Kilclonfert)
9. Michael Brazil (Tullamore)
10. Shane Horan (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin)
11. Ruairi McNamee (Rhode)
12. Conor McNamee (Rhode)
15. Cian Johnson (Ferbane)
14. Bernard Allen (Tubber)
13. Anton Sullivan (Rhode)
24. Ronan McEvoy (Shannonbridge) for Conor McNamee (16)
17. Cian Donohue (St Brigid’s) for McEvoy (48)
22. Mark Abbott (Edenderry) for Johnson (56)
23. Jason Dempsey (Bracknagh) for Brazil (59)
19. Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh) for Horan (64)
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)