LINING out with just eight players with championship experience in the top flight, the Cork footballers made light work of dispatching Limerick IT in the opening round of the McGrath Cup at Mallow last Sunday.
In terms of assessing the fresh talent on view, however, it was largely a meaningless exercise, as this was a total mismatch, with the Shannonside students unable to provide the Rebels with any sort of a decent test.
Six of the Cork players were making their debut at senior level, including goalkeeper Ryan Price, who was replaced for the second half. It's a measure of Cork's superiority that Price was little more than a spectator during his 35-minute stint of duty, although he did prove his worth when saving well from LIT's Sean Hayes in the 32nd minute.
Of the other newcomers, Mark Sugrue arguably made the biggest impression at centre forward, scoring three tasty points, providing the delivery that led to Cork's first goal from Andrew O'Sullivan (), and going agonisingly close to finding the net himself midway through the second half.
Noel Galvin and Kevin O'Driscoll both showed up well too in defence, with the latter notching a couple of points from wing back in the second half, but Colm O'Driscoll took a while to make his mark at wing forward, and was the last of Cork's six forwards to get on the scoresheet in the first half.
As with 'keeper Price, it was by no means a searching debut for centre back Alan Sheehan, who was forced off injured in the 47th minute. With Cork, backed by a howling wind, in complete control, and Aidan Walsh and Fintan Goold ruling the roost at midfield, Sheehan wasn't adequately tested prior to his enforced departure, as LIT had applied little or no pressure in the first half.
The seasoned Donncha O'Connor was quickest to make an impact up front for the winners, bagging three points as Cork moved six ahead before Andrew O'Sullivan added a goal in the 13th minute.
O'Sullivan was on hand to apply the finish after Donncha O'Connor's flick on a Mark Sugrue cross had been prevented from crossing the line by LIT corner back Cian Prenderville. John Hayes, after an uncertain start at corner forward, found his range to slot over three points as Cork continued to pile on the punishment before half-time.
They turned over 1-15 to the good, and O'Sullivan was denied a second goal within two minutes of the resumption when LIT 'keeper James Broudair deflected his shot from close-range over the bar.
It fell to substitute Tony McMahon to finally break LIT's duck in the 39th. minute, and they managed to outscore Cork by four points to one over the next ten minutes. They registered just two more scores after that, as Cork smoothly raised the tempo again, embellishing a facile victory with late goals from substitute Kevin Crowley and John Hayes, who expertly converted a penalty.
Crowley's strike was out of the top drawer, flashing past LIT 'keeper Broudair, who had twice foiled Donncha O'Connor with fine saves earlier in the second half and was about the only player to measure up for the hapless losers.
Along with Millstreet's Crowley, Ballydesmond's Sean Murphy was another one of the six substitutes used to chip in with a score, but Cork finished the game with 14 players after Micheal O'Laoire, who had replaced Aidan Walsh at half time, received a black card in the 68th. minute.
LIT's Cian Prenderville also fell foul of football's new disciplinary measure, being issued with his marching orders following an indiscretion that led to the Cork penalty with time almost up.
Cork: J Hayes 1-4, 1-0 penalty, A O'Sullivan 1-1, D O'Connor 0-4, D Goulding 0-4, 0-2 frees, K Crowley 1-0, M Sugrue 0-3, K O'Driscoll 0-2, F Goold, A Walsh, C O'Driscoll and S Murphy 0-1 each.
LIT: S Hayes 0-2, T McMahon, P Dalton, D Cleary, E O'Neill and C Talty, free, 0-1 each
Cork: R Price (O'Donovan Rossa), J McLoughlin (Kanturk), E Cadogan (Douglas), N Galvin (Ballincollig), K O'Driscoll (Tadgh MacCarthaigh), A Sheehan (Dohenys), J Loughrey (Mallow), A Walsh (Kanturk), F Goold (Macroom), C O'Driscoll (Tadgh MacCarthaigh) M Sugrue (Bandon), A O'Sullivan (Castletownbere), D Goulding (Eire Og), D O'Connor (Ballydesmond), J Hayes (Carbery Rangers) Subs: K O'Halloran (Bishopstown ) for Price, S Murphy (Ballydesmond) for Loughrey, M O'Laoire (Naomh Aban) for Walsh, K Crowley (Millstreet) for Goold, C Lyons (St Finbarr's) for Sheehan (injured), K O'Connor (Mallow) for O'Connor
LIT: J Broudair, C Prenderville, J Collins, J McDonnell, D Masterson, A Butler, P Dalton, S Sherry, C Talty, D Cleary, S Hayes, E O'Neill, P O'Sullivan, C O'Driscoll, A Downes Subs: T McMahon for Sherry, S Ryan for Downes, K McDonagh for O'Driscoll, C Breathnach for O'Sullivan
Referee: P O'Sullivan (Kerry)