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Cork finish strongly to defeat Limerick by eight points and book Munster final place

The final will take place on Sunday 25 July.

Cork 1-16

Limerick 0-11

IT HAD THE potential to be the type of awkward Munster football assignment that could have tripped Cork up but they steadied themselves sufficiently in Limerick this afternoon, a powerful kick at the close of both halves contributing greatly to getting them over the line.

cillian-fahy-and-sean-meehan Cork's Sean Meehan and Limerick's Cillian Fahy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Four points on the spin late in the first half pushed Cork five clear at the break, a favourable outcome after a difficult start to the game. Then as Limerick threatened to make a game of it in the final quarter, roared on by enthusiastic home support, Cork managed to accelerate clear once more thanks to five unanswered points.

They finished with eight to spare, John O’Rourke posting 1-3 from play while Brian Hurley’s six point haul was swelled by two late scores after his free-taking had been reliable prior to that. Sean Powter exited the game in the 42nd minute but his pair of scores before the break were invaluable and his replacement Cian Kiely matched that tally as he injected plenty of energy to the cause.

After Limerick had fired 4-18 in pulverising Waterford last time out, this game was a contrast in their offensive fortunes as they only amassed 0-11. Danny Neville and Iain Corbett weighed in with two efforts apiece in the second half but they really needed a goal to ensure their challenge exploded into life. Neville had the best opportunity midway through the third quarter after he surged through, only to unleash a shot that flew across the goal and wide.

john-o-rourke-scores-his-sides-first-goal John O'Rourke scores Cork's first goal Source: James Crombie/INPHO

That miss came after they were chasing Cork from an early juncture after shipping a goal. Limerick suffered a major twin setback in that phase of play. John O’Rourke bundled home a shot in the 3rd minute and in the scramble to score, Limerick’s goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan shipped a heavy blow and had to retire early.

Newcomer Aaron O’Sullivan came on and his kickouts were steady as Limerick gained a command around the middle. But by the break, Gordon Brown’s shot after 26 seconds was their solitary score from play. Limerick had no shortage of ball in their hands but the end product was tough to source.

kevin-o-donovan-and-darragh-treacy Cork's Kevin O'Donovan and Limerick's Darragh Treacy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The first half was a real struggle for both teams to achieve any fluency and the crowd that had been permitted to attend were treated to a grind of a contest. Between them the two teams only registered five points from play in the opening period and three of those arrived in injury time.

That was the critical phase in shaping the game as Cork, after toiling for so long as they tried to punch holes in attack, eventually managed to unlock the Limerick rearguard. They were ahead 1-2 to 0-4 until the 34th minute, a reflection of how cagey and tight this encounter was.

But then Ronan McCarthy saw his team reel off four points without reply, sending them in at the break with some renewed enthusiasm and making his interval talk easier to form.

Brian Hurley knocked over a free from outside the 45-yard line and Sean Powter bolted up from his nominal corner-back role to inject some badly needed imagination into Cork’s forward play. The Douglas defender struck a brace of stylish points from play, Mattie Taylor clipped over another and it was suddenly 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval.

That scoring spree gave Cork a cushion they could rely on throughout the second half. They lost Powter to a dead leg injury and it was 1-11 to 0-10 in Cork’s favour by the 56th minute. Then came the string of points – O’Rourke, Kiely, Hurley (2) and Meehan – that settled the contest to book Cork’s place in a Munster final on 25 July as Limerick’s season reached an end point.

Scorers for Cork: John O’Rourke 1-3, Brian Hurley 0-6 (0-4f), Cian Kiely, Sean Powter 0-2 each, Sean Meehan, Ian Maguire, Mattie Taylor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: Hugh Bourke 0-5 (0-5f), Danny Neville, Iain Corbett 0-2 each, Aaron O’Sullivan (0-1 ’45), Gordon Brown 0-1 each.

Cork

1. Mícheál Martin (Nemo Rangers)

2. Sean Powter (Douglas), 3. Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree), 4. Kevin Flahive (Douglas)

5. Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), 6. Sean Meehan (Kiskeam), 7. Mattie Taylor (Mallow).

8. Ian Maguire (St. Finbarr’s – captain), 9, Paul Walsh (Kanturk).

10. Brian Hartnett (Douglas), 11. Ruairi Deane (Bantry Blues), 12. John O’ Rourke (Carbery Rangers).

13. Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers), 14. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven), 15. Daniel Dineen (Cill Na Martra).

Subs

20. Cian Kiely (Ballincollig) for Powter (42)

22. Kevin O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh) for Paul Walsh (46)

17. Briain Murphy (Nemo Rangers) for O’Mahony (inj) (51)

24. Mark Collins (Castlehaven) for Connolly (60) 

26. Michael Hurley (Castlehaven) for O’Rourke (64)

Limerick

1. Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen)

2. Sean O’Dea (Kilteely/Dromkeen), 3. Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen), 4. Michael Donovan (Galbally)

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5. Robert Childs (Galtee Gaels), 6. Iain Corbett (Newcastlewest – captain), 7. Gordon Brown (Na Piarsaigh)

8. Darragh Treacy (St Kieran’s), 9. Tommie Childs (Galtee Gaels)

10. Cian Sheehan (Newcastlewest), 11. Cillian Fahy (Dromcollogher/Broadford), 12 Adrian Enright (Fr. Casey’s)

13. Danny Neville (Ballysteen), 14. Robbie Burke (Adare), 15. Hugh Bourke (Adare)

Subs

16. Aaron O’Sullivan (Pallasgreen) for Donal O’Sullivan (inj) (5)

24. Brian Donovan (Monaleen) for Burke (half-time)

25. James Naughton (St Senan’s) for Enright (44)

21. Killian Ryan (Mungret St Paul’s) for Sheehan (44)

26. Josh Ryan (Oola) for Fahy (60)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from LIT Gaelic Grounds

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