Cork register important victory in National Football League

Cork 2-12 Laois 0-10

By Rory Delaney at MW Hire O’Moore Park

Cork claimed a well deserved win at MW Hire O’Moore Park.

Ronan McCarthy’s charges were just too clinical for Laois, punishing a few mistakes from the home side to get ahead in the first half, and holding them at arm’s length for the remainder of the game. Laois now face a relegation battle, while Cork face Clare in the final group game needing another result there to progress to the knockout stages.

Laois had a nightmare start, seeing Colm Begley forced off the field through injury with barely a minute gone and, while they waited to bring on his replacement, Cork struck for a goal. A clever pass from Luke Connolly set Sean White through on goal and he finished low past Niall Corbet to open the scoring.

Ciaran Sheehan added a point soon after, claiming a wonderful mark from Ian Maguire’s ball before tapping over from 14 yards. Laois needed a while to settle down and they eventually did, with Donie Kingston winning and then pointing a free in the eighth minute to open their account.

Another long ball reaped dividends for Cork again after that, John O’Rourke the scorer this time as he fisted over from close range. Laois were struggling to create chances at the other end but finally hit something of a purple patch around the 15th minute.

Brian Byrne, a late addition to the side, clipped over two points in quick succession before Danny O’Reilly lofted over a fine long-range score to get the home side back within one. Unfortunately for Laois, that was as good as the first half got.

Cork pointed twice before the water break, Ian Maguire and Kevin O’Driscoll providing the scores this time, before pressing home their superiority when play resumed.

They were helped by some sloppy Laois play, Gareth Dillon’s misplaced pass hoovered up by the Cork forwards who set Ruairi Deane away, the Bantry man jinking his way into the area before slotting into the bottom corner.

It was pedestrian enough from there to the half-time whistle, Cork edging it slightly to take a 2-7 to 0-7 lead into the dressing rooms.

If Laois were hoping for an immediate upturn in their fortunes they were to be disappointed, even if Niall Corbet’s 45 gave them the opening score of the half. Cork replied soon after, winning a breaking ball in their own penalty area after Paul Kingston’s shot for goal was saved, working the ball quickly down field and pointing through Ian Maguire.

The same scenario repeated itself three minutes later, Evan O’Carroll seeing a shot blocked and Cork breaking at speed, John O’Rourke the scorer this time. The only other action of note in this period came when Luke Connolly’s shot for Cork missed the target in the 46th minute, the first wide they registered in the game.

Niall Corbet again came up from between the posts to float over a 45 for Laois with Danny O’Reilly adding another for the home side before the water break to see them within five heading into the final quarter.

They would never get closer than that though, failing to score again as Cork tacked on three more points through subs Mark Collins (two frees) and Shane Forde to run out comfortable eight point winners in the end.

Scorers for Laois: Donie Kingston 0-3 (3fs), Danny O’Reilly, Brian Byrne, Niall Corbet (2 45s) 0-2 each, Kieran Lillis 0-1.

Scorers for Cork: Sean White, Ruairi Deane 1-0 each, John O’Rourke, Ciaran Sheehan (1m), Ian Maguire, Mark Collins (2fs) 0-2 each, Kevin O’Driscoll, Luke Connolly, Mattie Taylor, Shane Forde 0-1 each.

LAOIS: Niall Corbet; Robbie Pigott, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Patrick O’Sullivan, Colm Begley; Kieran Lillis, John O’Loughlin; Brian Byrne, Eoin Lowry, Danny O’Reilly; Paul Kingston, Donie Kingston, Evan O’Carroll.

Subs: Alan Farrell for Begley (2 mins, inj), Mark Barry for O’Carroll (51), Gary Walsh for D Kingston (52), Michael Keogh for Lowry (60), Eoin Buggie for O’Sullivan (60), Sean O’Flynn for Byrne (66), Benny Carroll for P Kingston (66)

CORK: Míchael Martin; Sean Powter, Daniel O’Mahoney, Kevin Flahive; Kevin O’Donovan, Sean Meehan, Mattie Taylor; Ian Maguire, Paul Walsh; Sean White, Ruairi Deane, Kevin O’Driscoll; John O’Rourke, Cíaran Sheehan, Luke Connolly.

Subs: Damien Gore for Connolly (51), Colm O’Callaghan for Sheehan (53), Mark Collins for White (53), Tadhg Corkery for O’Donovan (58), Cian Kiely for Taylor (59), Dan Dineen for O’Rourke (64), Shane Forde for Powter (64).

REFEREE: Barry Judge (Sligo)