Cork set up Mayo showdown with victory over battling Sligo side
Published 26/07/2014 | 18:41
Cork will play Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-finals next weekend after a 0-21 to 1-11 win over Sligo today at O'Connor Park in Tullamore.
Reeling from their 12-point defeat to Kerry in the Munster final, Cork will still have a lot of work to do but their defensive display and the form of Paul Kerrigan and Colm O'Neill will give them confidence heading into next weekend's showdown with James Horan's men.
Sligo were 10/1 outsiders coming into the game but deserve a lot of credit for their performance and did get within four points of the winners with 15 minutes to go but the Rebels had too much class for them.
The Rebels had the breeze at their backs but were content to let Sligo have the ball for long spells before suffocating their attacks in their own half-back line and breaking at speed.
Brian Cuthbert's tactics were definitely benefiting the midfield pairing of Aidan Walsh and Ian Maguire while the free-running Paul Kerrigan was running amuck and Colm O'Driscoll relishing his sweeper role.
Sligo actually opened the scoring through Mark Breheny but Cork took control by kicking the next eight points unanswered with Kerrigan, Colm O'Neill and Brian Hurley raising white flags.
It took 25 minutes for Sligo to register their next score when Adrian Marren pointed a free before a Colm O'Neill brace eneded the scoring for the half with Cork 0-10 to 0-2 to the good.
A massive Aidan Walsh free into the teeth of the wind was followed by a stylish brace from O'Neill.
Charlie Harrison raised a white flag before three frees from Adrian Marren cut the deficit to seven points.
Paul Kerrigan spun away from Brendan Egan to score a fine point but it was cancelled out by a brilliant Mark Breheny free.
It was suddenly game on in the 51st minute as Stephen Coen showed admirable bravery to get to the ball ahead of Ken O'Halloran to score a goal, Sligo's first in the championship since June 2012.
Coen was growing in confidence and traded points with Colm O'Neill before Breheny made it a four-point game with another left-footed free.
Paul Kerrigan was the man to respond once more before Aidan Walsh and two points from Colm O'Neill saw Cork weather the storm.
A fifth Adrian Marren free came before he and Damien Cahalane swapped points in injury time as Cork ran out seven-point winners.