CORK ARE THROUGH to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship after beating Kildare 2-19 to 0-12 at Croke Park on Sunday.
The game has been forecast to be a tight affair but the Lilywhites really were no match for Conor Counihan’s men, and the dismissal of Eoin Doyle did not help the Kildare cause one bit.
A free from Mikey Conway and a point from Robert Kelly actually gave Kieran McGeeney’s side an early lead, which Paudie Kissane halved.
The Leinster side had chances from Johnny Doyle and Conway that went wide, and they were left to rue those missed chances as the Rebels came back into it.
Cork had already taken the lead when the first goal of the game came in the 16th minute.
Paul Kerrigan tore through the middle and fired in a shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Shane Connolly, but the ball rebounded off defender Eoin Doyle and into the net. It was a bad stroke of luck for Kildare but Cork were glad of their fortune and Donncha O’Connor tapped over another free to stretch their lead to 1-5 to 0-3.
Two minutes later came another goal for Cork.
A sideline ball was controversially awarded on the Cusack Stand side, the ball pumped in where Colm O’Neill raced onto it, flicked the ball to Donncha O’Connor and took the return to palm the ball into the net.
Kildare woke up, and rattled off five unanswered points before the half time whistle, through Alan Smith (2), Eugene O’Flaherty, Johnny Doyle and Hugh McGrillen.
Cork must have received a stern talking-to from Counihan at the break, as they came out in stunning form.
While it was delicately poised at half-time, the Leesiders produced score after score after score. In fact, it was ten Cork points before Kildare could add to their tally.
Matters were not helped when Doyle received a second yellow card, sandwiched between two points from Aidan Walsh – who nearly scored Cork’s third goal after being fed by Graham Canty.
By the time Colm O’Neill had slotted over a late free Cork had long since proved their superiority, running out winners by a massive 13 points.
Scorers for Cork: Colm O’Neill 1-3 (0-2f), Ollie Lyons og 1-0, Donncha O’Connor 0-4 (0-2 ’45, 0-1f), Aidan Walsh 0-3 (0-1f) each, Paudie Kissane, Paul Kerrigan, Pearse O’Neill, Daniel Goulding 0-2 each, Fintan Goold 0-1.
Scorers for Kildare: Alan Smith 0-4 (0-1f), Johnny Doyle 0-3 (0-1f), Hugh McGrillen, Robert Kelly, Eoghan O’Flaherty (0-1f), Mikey Conway (0-1f), Dermot Earley 0-1 each.
CORK: Alan Quirke (Valley Rovers); Ray Carey (Clyda Rovers), Michael Shields (St Finbarr’s), Eoin Cadogan (Douglas); Paudie Kissane (Clyda Rovers), Graham Canty (Bantry Blues), Noel O’Leary (Cill na Martra); Alan O’Connor (St Colum’s), Aidan Walsh (Kanturk); Fintan Goold (Macroom), Ciarán Sheehan (Éire Óg), Paul Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers); Colm O’Neill (Ballyclough), Donncha O’Connor (Ballydesmond), Nicholas Murphy (Carrigaline).
Cork subs: Patrick Kelly for Ciaran Sheehan, Pearse O’Neill for Alan O’Connor, Daniel Goulding for Nicholas Murphy, Jamie O’Sullivan for Ray Carey, Denis O’Sullivan for Graham Canty.
KILDARE: Shane Connolly (St Laurence’s); Ollie Lyons (Celbridge), Peter Kelly (Two Mile House), Hugh McGrillen (Celbridge); Emmet Bolton (Eadestown), Morgan O’Flaherty (Carbury), Eoin Doyle (Naas); Michael Foley (Athy), Robert Kelly (Straffan); Eoghan O’Flaherty (Carbury), Mikey Conway (Nurney), John Doyle (Allenwood); Alan Smith (Sarsfields), Tomás O’Connor (Clane), James Kavanagh (Ballymore).
Kildare subs: Daryl Flynn for Robert Kelly, Padraig O’Neill for Michael Foley, Fionn Dowling for Mikey Conway, Dermot Earley for Tomas O’Connor, Sean Johnston for Eoghan O’Flaherty