Thursday 29 June 2017

O'Neill is both the hero and villain for Cork in tight finish

Galway 0-14 Cork 1-11

Colm O'Neill of Cork watches his late free to win the game go narrowly wide. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Colm O'Neill of Cork watches his late free to win the game go narrowly wide. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

John Fallon

A fifth draw in 30 league meetings between these sides was a fair outcome at Pearse Stadium, although both camps will realise the need for improvement if they are to live up to their mantle of promotion favourites.

It was the first time they drew in the league since 1985 and while Colm O'Neill missed a 40-metre free at the death, the Rebels could hardly blame him as the former All-Star was their key performer when he came on nine minutes after the restart.

Cork's Conor Dorman in action against Danny Cummins of Galway during their Allianz Football League Division 2 Round 1 match at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Cork's Conor Dorman in action against Danny Cummins of Galway during their Allianz Football League Division 2 Round 1 match at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

O'Neill caused the Galway defence massive problems and four points from play and a pointed free told its own story.

"Fellas might say Colm missed a free there at the end," said Cork selector Eoin O'Neill. "He did, fair enough, but he made a massive contribution when he came on.

"We came up here to win and we are disappointed. We are not after losing and this is a positive thing."

Few teams will go without scoring in the opening 17 minutes of a game and survive, but Cork pushed on once Luke Connolly got their opening point and Paul Kerrigan found the net a minute later after good work by Connolly, Aidan Walsh and Sean Powter.

Galway's Rory Lavelle in action against Paul Kerrigan of Cork during their Allianz Football League Division 2 Round 1 match. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Galway's Rory Lavelle in action against Paul Kerrigan of Cork during their Allianz Football League Division 2 Round 1 match. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Earlier, new Galway goalkeeper Ruairí Lavelle did well to deprive Walsh from point-blank range, but it looked good for Cork when they led by 1-3 to 0-5 at the break, having played against the breeze.

The Tribesmen started well after the break with two frees from newcomer Barry McHugh. Efforts from Danny Cummins and Paul Conroy pushed them 0-9 to 1-3 in front, but the introduction of O'Neill was decisive.

He hit the equalising point three times after McHugh, Cummins and Gary O'Donnell scored for Galway.

O'Neill and Ruairí Deane edged the Rebels in front, but subs Cillian McDaid and Cathal Sweeney levelled, before O'Neill sent his late free wide. Cork finished with 14 when Brian O'Driscoll picked up a second yellow card.

Cork's Paul Kerrigan in action against Galway's Luke Burke at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Cork's Paul Kerrigan in action against Galway's Luke Burke at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

"In the first-half we were very poor," said Galway manager Kevin Walsh. "But we went through things at half-time and the second-half was really encouraging."

Scorers - Galway: B McHugh 0-6 (0-6f), D Cummins 0-3 (0-1f), D Kyne 0-1, P Conroy 0-1, G O'Donnell 0-1, C McDaid 0-1, C Sweeney 0-1. Cork: C O'Neill 0-5 (0-1f), P Kerrigan 1-0, M Collins 0-2, L Connolly 0-1, N Coakley 0-1 (0-1f), J O'Rourke 0-1, R Deane 0-1.

Galway: R Lavelle 7; D Kyne 7, D Walsh 6, L Burke 6; G O'Donnell 7, G Bradshaw 7, J Heaney 6; P Conroy 7, M Day 6; T Flynn 6, B McHugh 7, E Brannigan 6; D Cummins 7, D Comer 8, S Armstrong 6. Subs: C McDaid 7 for Brannigan (43), M Daly 8 for Armstrong (45), E Tierney 6 for Flynn (51), C Sweeney 7 for Heaney (69), P Cooke 6 for Day (71).

Cork: R Price 7; J Loughrey 6, Tom Clancy 7, J McLoughlin 6; C Dorman 7, K Crowley 6, Tomas Clancy 6; A Walsh 7, R Deane 7; I Maguire 7, M Collins 7, S Powter 7; N Coakley 6, L Connolly 7, P Kerrigan 7. Subs: C O'Neill 9 for Coakley (44), J O'Rourke 7 for Powter (46), Brian O'Driscoll 6 for Dorman (51), D O'Connor 7 for Connolly (59), Barry O'Driscoll 6 for Maguire (65), G Murphy 6 for Kerrigan (72).

Ref: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)      

Irish Independent

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