Cork produce clinical second-half comeback to see off plucky Longford
Cork 2-9 Longford 1-6
Second-half goals from Colm O’Neill and Ian McGuire set Cork on their way to the last 12 as the Rebels swept Longford’s challenge aside in their Round 3 Qualifier meeting at Pearse Park today.
With 35 minutes to play it looked like Longford were set to add another chapter to their remarkable Qualifier history but Cork showed their class after the break.
Played in front of a strong home support of 3.567, Longford led 1-4 to 0-3 at the break with Brian Kavanagh slotting home their goal from a penalty in the 26th minute.
They had earlier trailed Pear Healy’s Cork 0-3 to 0-1 after a slow start which saw James Loughrey, Paul Kerrigan and U-21 star Michael Hurley all on the scoresheet.
Cork would remain scoreless for the next 25 minutes, however, as Denis Connerton’s side took complete control with Dermot Brady and Michael Quinn leading the charge in defence, and Robbie Smyth on form up front.
Cork needed to make something happen in the second half and the double substitution of former All-Stars O’Neill and Paddy Kelly, as well as Mark Collins, made a huge impression after the break.
Collins and O’Neill cut the gap to the minimum before O’Neill fired a low shot past Paddy Collum to take the lead, which they wouldn’t relinquish, as veteran midfielder Alan O’Connor asserted his dominance.
A Kelly point stretched the lead to three before Loughrey and Darren Gallagher both saw red for an off-the-ball incident. Kavanagh hit a huge point, their first in over 20 minutes, but the Rebel response was lethal as a Kelly pass split the Longford defence and McGuire goaded.
A speculative Quinn effort bounced over the bar to cut the gap to four but Kerrigan and sub John O’Rourke tagged on late points to secure Cork’s passage into the last 12 as Longford’s Qualifier dream faded as they finished with 13 men when Diarmuid Masterson was also sent off in the dying minutes.
SCORERS – Cork – C O’Neill 1-1 (1f), I McGuire 1-0, P Kerrigan (1f) and M Collins 0-2 each, M Hurley, J Loughrey, P Kelly and J O’Rourke 0-1 each. Longford – B Cavanagh 1-1 (1-0 pen), R Smyth 0-2 (1f), D Masterson, J McGivney and M Quinn 0-1 each.
CORK: R Price; C O’Driscoll, E Cadogan, N Galvin; B O’Driscoll, J Loughrey, T Clancy; A O’Connor, I McGuire; P Kerrigan, M Collins, K O’Driscoll; D Goulding, P Kelleher, M Hurley. Subs: S Powter for B O’Driscoll (35 + 2), C O’Neill for K O’Driscoll and P Kelly for D Goulding (both half-time), J O’Rourke for P Kelleher (58), R Deane for A O’Connor (71), S Cronin for C O’Neill (BC 72).
LONGFORD: P Collum, C Farrelly, B Gilleran, D Brady; D McElligott, M Quinn, D Masterson; M Brady, D Gallagher; B O’Farrell, J McGivney, B McKeon, R Smyth, B Kavanagh, L Connerton. Subs: M Hughes for M Brady int (46), P McGee for B McKeon (55), D Reynolds for L Connerton (63), B Farrell for B Kavanagh (65), R Connor for C Farrelly (67)
REF – B Cassidy (Derry)