By Eoin Cormican (Irish Examiner)
Cork 1-15 – 0-9 Leitrim
Cork this afternoon continued their winning start to life in Division 3, the visitors to Carrick-on-Shannon recording their second league victory to remain firmly in the hunt for promotion.
This was Ronan McCarthy’s charges’ first away assignment of the league and while the number of unforced errors made and possession cheaply given away will have frustrated the Cork management, not to mention the four goal chances they failed to capitalise on, they banked two more points towards their end-of-spring goal of 10.
Cork, backed by a strong breeze in the opening half, led 1-7 to 0-3 at the break. The sides had been rather evenly matched on the scoreboard throughout the first half, Cork’s 1-2 burst from the 33rd minute onwards giving them a deserved seven-point interval buffer.
The Cork goal arrived a minute and a half into first-half stoppages, Ciaran Sheehan at the end of an intricate move involving Ian Maguire, who made the initial intercept to secure possession for the visitors, Ruairi Deane, and Tom Clancy.
Cork were certainly not shy of first-half goal-scoring opportunities, but a combination of poor finishing and outstanding goalkeeping on the part of Diarmuid McKiernan meant three earlier chances had come to nothing.
Leitrim, too, had goal chances of their own, the first of which fell to Darragh Rooney. The corner-forward, however, fumbled possession at the crucial moment. Rooney was again at the centre of their second green flag opening, put through by a delicious chipped pass from Keith Beirne, but his shot was kept out by Micheál Martin.
Beirne was the sole Leitrim man to find the target in the opening half, the corner-forward responsible for their 0-3 total.
Deane, Clancy, and Sheehan landed fine scores at the other end, but there was an element of wastefulness to Cork’s point-taking, similar to when presented with goal chances, the visitors clocking seven first-half wides.
Cork were rarely troubled during the second period, Luke Connolly the standout player in red. The Nemo man finished with 0-5 to his name, two apiece from play and frees, as well as an advanced mark. He did, however, shoot wide when presented with a chance of goal.
Leitrim sub Evan Sweeney, with his point on 62 minutes, became the first Leitrim player outside of Beirne to write his name onto the scoresheet.
Scorers for Cork: L Connolly (0-5, 0-2 frees, 0-1 mark); C Sheehan (1-2); C O’Mahony (0-3, 0-1 free); T Clancy, T Corkery, J O’Rourke, S White, P Kerrigan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Leitrim: K Beirne (0-7, 0-5 frees); E Sweeney, R Mulvey (0-1 each).
Cork: M Martin; K Crowley, T Clancy, L O’Donovan; T Corkery, S Powter, M Taylor; I Maguire, B Hartnett; R Deane, S White, J O’Rourke; M Hurley, C Sheehan, C O’Mahony.
Subs: L Connolly for Hurley (30 mins); P Kerrigan for O’Mahony, K O’Driscoll for O’Rourke (56); C Kiely for Powter (58); R Harkin for Sheehan (67).
Leitrim: D McKiernan; F McTague, P Maguire, C Reynolds; C McGloin, J Gilheany, A Flynn; O McCaffrey, D Wrynn; D Flynn, S Quinn, D McGovern; D Rooney, S Moran, K Beirne.
Subs: R Mulvey for McTague (HT); P Dolan for McCaffrey (45); E Sweeney for Rooney (52); R O’Rourke for Gilheany (54, inj); O McLoughlin for Moran (67).
Referee: P Maguire (Longford).