THIS WAS QUITE a way for champions to end their losing streak and get off the winning mark for a new season.
Cork’s Robert Downey in action against Limerick.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
If there were any whispers of concern swirling around about Limerick’s recent form, they were dispelled in a ruthless fashion under the Saturday evening sun on their home patch. John Kiely’s team shot 20 points in the first half, finished with 33 overall and amassed 20 wides, evidence of the dominance they enjoyed in this game.
The key context for this match was what lies ahead, the teams facing off in a league dress rehearsal four weeks before their championship showdown. That will be the Saturday night meeting of greater importance and Cork’s team selection here placed a huge emphasis on raw youth, but this was still a clear statement of intent issued by Limerick.
The first half was an expression of utter dominance by the All-Ireland champions. They looked every inch the more experienced and sharper side while their hunger was visible after not winning any of their opening three league ties.
That motivation helped propel them ahead 0-20 to 1-7 by the interval after they were in front 0-11 to 1-3 at the first water break. Another degree of ruthlessness and that advantage could have been greater as Limerick recorded 11 wides in the first half.
Cian Lynch was the conductor of the show for Limerick, in irrepressible form as the hub of their attack. He started at centre-forward, fired over three points from play and floated around to devastating effect as he sprayed passes to set up points for colleagues.
Cork’s Conor Cahalane and Limerick’s William O’Donoghue.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Cork endured a dreadful first-half. They struggled desperately on their own puckouts, whether they went short or long, Limerick swallowed them up. Their best move of the period did yield a goal in the 12th minute, Conor Cahalane hammering a shot off the bar and Jack O’Connor whipping home the rebound.
That was the first of two goals for O’Connor as he acclerated clear for a fine individual effort in the 54th minute, just prior to the second-half water break.
The second half was a marked improvement in Cork’s form. Patrick Horgan and Luke Meade came off the bench to make an impact while they carved open the Limerick rearguard for a series of goal chances. Limerick’s defence produced a few brave late blocks, man-of-the-match Diarmaid Byrnes impressing in that regard.
Limerick finished with 12 different scorers, teenagers Colin Coughlan and Cathal O’Neill both landing a brace of points. Cork did limit the damage in the second half on the scoreboard, winning that spell by 1-12 to 0-13.
But the game provided plenty food for thought for the next four weeks, as to how they will manage to close the gap to a Limerick team that turned on the style.
Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-10 (0-9f), Tom Morrissey 0-4, Cian Lynch 0-4, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 ’65), Colin Coughlan 0-2, Peter Casey 0-2, Pat Ryan 0-2, Cathal O’Neill 0-2, Adrian Breen 0-1, William O’Donoghue 0-1, Darragh O’Donovan 0-1, Barry Nash 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-9 (0-6f, 0-2 ’65), Jack O’Connor 2-1, Shane Kingston 0-2, Declan Dalton 0-2 (0-2f), Mark Coleman 0-2 (0-2f), Conor Cahalane 0-1, Damien Cahalane 0-1, Robbie O’Flynn 0-1.
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1. Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock)
2. Richie English (Doon), 3. Sean Finn (Bruff), 4. Barry Nash (South Liberties).
5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), 6. Declan Hannon (Adare – captain), 7. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown).
8. William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsiagh), 9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon).
14. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell), 11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), 10. Tom Morrissey (Ahane).
15. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh), 17. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), 13. Pat Ryan (Doon).
18. Jerome Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Finn (inj) (48)
25. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora-Manister) for Conor Boylan (55)
19. Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh) for Casey (59)
23. Darren O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry) for Ryan (59)
21. Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock) for O’Donovan (65)
20. Ronan Connolly (Adare) for Hannon (66)
26. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for Gillane (66)
1. Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig)
2. Sean O’Leary-Hayes (Midleton), 3. Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), 4. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons).
5. Ger Millerick (Fr O’Neills), 6. Mark Coleman (Blarney – captain), 7. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers).
of the team
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8. Billy Hennessy (St Finbarr’s), 9. Daire Connery (Na Piarsaigh).
10. Conor Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), 11. Shane Kingston (Douglas), 12. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own).
24. Tadgh Deasy (Blackrock), 14. Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neills), 15. Jack O’Connor (Sarsfields).
18. Niall Cashman (Blackrock) for Downey (half-time)
21. Luke Meade (Newcestown) for Connery (half-time)
26. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers) for Dalton (half-time)
23. Shane Barrett (Blarney) for O’Flynn (48)
22. Sean Twomey (Courcey Rovers) for Deasy (57)
25. Alan Connolly (Blackrock) for Kingston (67)
17. Cormac O’Brien (Newtownshandrum) for Conor Cahalane (70)
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)
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