Cork and Mayo go head to head Inpho

As it happened: Cork v Mayo, National Football League Final

The first major silverware of the season is handed to Cork at Croke Park as a ferocious defensive display sees them cruise past an underwhelming Mayo.

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Full-time: Cork 2-10 Mayo 0-11

Cork out-muscle Mayo in the second half and are deserving winners of a cynical and disappointing league final. Reaction to come shortly.

Cork take the field to the patter of a few sets of hands clapping. Mayo take the field to a massive roar. We are running a few minutes behind here after the Division Two final dragged on but we should be underway soon.

For those sitting at home, a quick note on what we are enduring on the seventh floor of the Hogan Stand. True story, a colleague just tried to take a picture on his phone only to be warned it was too cold for the flash to work.

There should be danger money involved in this, you hear that Mr Editor!

Teams continuing their warm-up so we’ll start with the line outs which are as follows…

CORK A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; N O’Leary, G Canty, P Kissane; P O’Neill, A O’Connor; F Goold, P Kelly, P Kerrigan; C O’Neill, A Walsh, D O’Connor.
MAYO D Clarke; K Keane , G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle; B Moran, J Gibbons; K McLoughlin, A Moran, A Dillon; C Mortimer, C O’Connor, M Conroy.

Referee is Maurice Deegan from Laois.

Serious Cork team with Daniel Goulding and Ciaran Sheehan to come back into that potent forward line. Graham Canty is named at six today but come summer, we’d like to see Eoin Cadogan play there as himself and Michael Shields would be a formidable spine in defence and make this side even more complete. Our favourites for the championship right now, whatever about today.

As for Mayo, we ask a favour from people. Should they win let them enjoy it and don’t start this talk of the Holy Grail and the All Ireland and everything else. Lose and let’s not bring up history. It’s unfair to saddle a young side with past near-misses. The fact they’ve won one national final out of the last 12 is frustrating for Mayo, but to be in that many is quite an achievement too. How many other counties would love to be part of so many special days?

National anthem about to play. We’ll be underway in moments.

Strong, swirling breeze that’s into the Canal End and with Mayo if anything. It’s the same wind Kildare used to devastating effect in the day’s opener.

5 mins: Cork 0-0 Mayo 0-0, Very slow and timid start with a wide at each end.  Michael Conroy looks lively but it’s Andy Moran that is hauled down for a free which Conor Mortimer, the leading Mayo scorer of all time, hits off the post.

6 mins: Cork 0-1 Mayo 0-0, For the second time Pearse O’Neill gets forward but for the first time he points.

10 mins: Cork 0-1 Mayo 0-2, Back come Mayo and Young Player of the Year Cillian O’Connor with a couple of frees. Cork a bit loose at the back so far and need to exert their physical presence without giving away very soft frees.

12 mins: Cork 0-2 Mayo 0-2, Aidan Walsh coming out to the 40 from the Cork full-forward line leaving Colm O’Neill and Donncha O’Connor isolated inside. Works too as O’Neill feeds Fintan Goold for the leveller.

Kevin Keane picking up Donncha O’Connor  with Keith Higgins tailing Colm O’Neill by the way.

15 mins: Cork 0-2 Mayo 0-3, Silly by Cork as they allow Cillian O’Connor a third easy free. But they do look the more dangerous and composed from open play, especially when the ball into the inside two is delivered quick.

20 mins: Cork 0-2 Mayo 0-4, Cork are taking too much out of it and lose it at the back only for Conroy to miss right. Mayo have certainly bulked up under James Horan but we expect to see Pearse O’Neill, Noel O’Leary and Alan O’Connor breaking more tackles and opening up the play. It hasn’t happened so far as the Munster side go sideways but not forward with any great purpose. They are punished as Cillian O’Connor nails another free.

22 mins: Cork 0-3 Mayo 0-5, Finally Cork move it with pace and Fintan Goold notches his second but Keith Higgins gets forward brilliantly and cancels it out. Lacklustre so far with the midfield yet to settle and a lot of wayward passing.

27 mins: Cork 0-4 Mayo 0-7, Cillian O’Connor has been brilliant.  He’s been accurate from frees and swivels inside before getting his fifth of the day and first from play. Donal Vaughan follows it up with another point seconds later and swings the fist in celebration. Mayo look confident and hungry and determined. Cork look very much the opposite, even as Donncha O’Connor coverts a free. Long way to go though.

30 mins: Cork 0-5 Mayo 0-7, But here is the downside for James Horan’s side as Graham Canty drives a free over. Mayo have been much more direct and energetic. In fact they’ve been by far the better team so far but don’t underestimate that wind. We saw what Kildare did in the closing stages when kicking into the Canal End in the earlier game. There are only two points in it and with Colm O’Neill and Donncha O’Connor’s ability from distance, the second half could and should be very different.

Cork beginning to get on top in the middle and at the back. Not fouling anymore and limiting space and possession for Mayo.

35 mins: Cork 0-5 Mayo 0-8, Andy Moran’s point is as impressive as it is important as we head into three minutes of stoppage time.

Half-time: Cork 0-5 Mayo 0-9, Donal Vaughan is taken out of it coming through the middle and that’s needless from Noel O’Leary. The Mayo man is clearly hurt but the Cork wing-back tries to pull him to his feet. One of those moments you feel Mayo should have laid down a marker and taken a couple of yellows just to make their point. At least Cillian O’Connor gets a point from the resulting free.

Four point lead for Mayo as we go for a cup of coffee. They need to get their wing-forwards and corner-forwards more involved though because should Cork show some defensive discipline, the frees and their supply of scores will dry up. As for Cork, aside from stopping the fouling, they really need to be more direct. Donncha O’Connor and Colm O’Neill have been starved of the ball, Pearse O’Neill hasn’t got on the front foot while Paddy Kelly and Paul Kerrigan have been bypassed. Time for Aidan Walsh to join the battle in the middle perhaps. Interesting second half ahead.

37 mins: Cork 0-8 Mayo 0-9, Start filled with intent as Alan O’Connor, Paddy Kelly and Pearse O’Neill nearly wipe out the lead. Kildare players have been talking about how hard it was shooting into the Hill given the wind. Doesn’t bode well for Mayo.

And Mayo make  a change as Jason Gibbons is withdrawn from the middle and Patrick Harte comes on. Cork have been on top at centre-field and Gibbons has struggled.

There’s been a nasty undercurrent running right through this game and it comes to the surface as Graham Canty and Donal Vaughan fight to the ground. We reckon Vaughan took it on points.

43 mins: Cork 0-9 Mayo 0-9, That’s a great score from distance from Donncha O’Connor as they turned the ball over with huge intensity at the other end. The champions are doing everything we said they needed to at half-time. The fouling has stopped, they are direct and the half-forward line are seeing some ball.

46 mins: Cork 1-9 Mayo 0-9, A long way to go but that’s a killer blow as Donncha O’Connor turns  Ger Cafferkey and Colm O’Neill buries it having been left unmarked in the centre. 1-4 to 0-0 to Cork since the restart.

50 mins: Cork 1-9 Mayo 0-10, Kevin McLoughlin gets one back for Mayo but it’s taken so much work just to get that score. More significant than that white flag was the way Alan Dillon was swallowed up moments before by a red sea. Cork have been ferocious at the back since the restart. Can’t see them losing this.

Paudie Kissane in particular has been huge, he’s mopping up some amount of turnover.

55 mins: Cork 2-9 Mayo 0-10, We are proclaiming that the game. It takes some luck but one quick Cork counter attack sees a long shot come off the post, Aidan Walsh gathers the rebound on the edge of the square and buries it. No way back for Mayo from here. Croke Park has gone quiet.

This could be a painful finish for James Horan and his team, but at least they won’t have to deal with Aidan Walsh who picks up a knock to the head as is withdrawn. Barry O’Driscoll on.

Meanwhile Cillian O’Connor who has gone quiet in the second half is replaced by Jason Doherty. Still 10 minutes to go but this is well and truly over.

64 mins: Cork 2-9 Mayo 0-11, Another row, another Mayo man on the ground and only Donal Vaughan goes in to lay down a marker. That’s been a hugely disappointing aspect of this game from a Mayo perspective. They have backed down from physical altercations and let Cork run riot. Meanwhile Conor Mortimer hits over a consolation free.

67 mins: Cork 2-10 Mayo 0-11, Daniel Goulding and Nicholas Murphy on for Cork. And it’s Goulding who gets on the scoresheet.

Two minutes of injury-time before Cork retain the league.

Full-time: Cork 2-10 Mayo 0-11, The skies open at a freezing Croke Park but it won’t bother Cork who have been comfortable for much of the second half and head up the steps of the Hogan Stand.

As it happened: Tyrone v Kildare, National Football League Division Two Final

GAA reaction: Ryan blames Wexford loss on ‘bad decision-making’

GAA reaction: Ryan bemoans ‘poor second half,’ despite victory

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