Cork on wrong side of goal rush
All Ireland Super 8s Group 2, Round 3: Roscommon 4-9 Cork 3-9
The last series of games in the Super 8s proved less than a memorable occasion for Cork on losing out to Connacht champions Roscommon at a rain lashed Páirc Uí Rinn last Sunday. In fairness, the Rebels battled bravely but didn't bring the same intensity as the Rossies who stood brave and strong when the pressure surfaced.
Many considered the fixture as a dead rubber with nothing at stake yet diehards in the 2.356 attendance who forked out €25 witnessed at times a competitive edge to the proceedings. A rare enough sight at this stage of the season was seven goals netted and apart from one flash point, 16 yellow and four black cards.
Not a hint of summer on a grey afternoon as conditions deteriorated yet it had been an encouraging few months for this Cork team, maybe deserving far better in their end of term report card that indicated just two wins from six championship games played.
Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham summed up the difference between the sides, his charges offering an efficient rather than spectacular performance that was nurtured from early Spring.
"Our experience in the top flight stood to us, most of outcomes of those League Division 1 games are down to single score contests. Its all about managing your game, that experience, you can't train for, it comes from competitive matches against the top teams and we will probally miss that next year on playing in Division 2," said Cunningham.
Cork flattered to deceive early on, all vim and vigour, Luke Connolly converted a free and a misplaced short kickout from Roscommon 'keeper Darren O'Malley was intercepted by Connolly to place Mark Collins to net.
And when Connolly added a point, Cork were 1-2 to the good inside three minutes, Roscommon had failed to enter the opposing end of the field. A Cork blitz looked on the cards yet it proved a false dawn, the weather put paid to any notions of free flowing football, misplaced passes and poor handling dictated the trend of the proceedings for long stages.
Following a nervous start, Roscommon held the necessary credentials to remain calm before offering a steady improvement to dominate the middle third with Conor Cox and Enda Smith finding the range. Cork countered, a great ball from Connolly found Kevin O'Driscoll to point before Ruarí Deane pounced on hesitant play to bisect the uprights.
Back came the visitors, Cathal Cregg, the provider for Brian Stack to outpace the Cork cover to fire home a goal. Cork's response was emphatic, probably fortuitous, Eoghan McSweeney's attempt for a point fell short yet the ball fell invitingly foe dangerman Connolly punch to the net for a 2-5 to 1-7 advantage at the break.
The opening 20 minutes to the second half were largely forgettable, the stop start and pedestrian fare did little to enthuse patrons. However the mundane proceedings came to light, Cox initiated for Stack to bag his second.
A shemozzle close to the Roscommon posts livened up matters further with six players yellow cards before Roscommon grabbed a third goal, Enda Smith broke away from a cluster of players to beat Mícheál Martin.
Cork offered a telling response, good work by John O'Rourke centred for supporting James Loughrey net.
With the margin down to a single point, Cork conceded further ground, good work by Stack allowed Shane Killoran chalk down Roscommon's fourth goal. Cork attacked in search of a reprieve, their best chance saw substitute Stephen Sherlock thwarted by a brilliant reaction save from O'Malley.
ROSCOMMON: D O'Malley; D Murray, C Daly, G Patterson; N Daly, R Daly, C Hussey; T O'Rourke, S Killoran (1-1); B Stack (2-0), C Cregg, N Kilroy; A Glennon (0-1f), C Cox (0-5f), E Smith (1-1) Subs: C Compton for N Daly (HT BC), A Lyons for C Hussey(45), F Cregg for C Cregg(45), D Smith (0-1) for N Kilroy(55), D Murtagh for A Glennon(57), H Darcy for C Compton (69 bc)
CORK: M Martin; Thomas Clancy, J Loughrey 1-0, K Flahive; S Cronin, S White, M Taylor; I Maguire, K O'Hanlon; K O'Driscoll 0-1, R Deane 0-1, E McSweeney; P Kerrigan, M Collins 1-2 (0-2f), L Connolly 1-3 (0-3f) Subs: J O'Rourke 0-1 for P Kerrigan (ht bc), M Hurley for E McSweeney (ht), B Hurley for M Collins(57), C Kiely for S Cronin(59), R O'Toole for T Clancy (63), S Sherlock 0-1 for L Connolly (70)
Referee: N Mooney (Cavan)
Páirc Uí Rinn
THE Game in 60 seconds
Brian Stack stood out in a number of decent performances for the visitors, netting twice and setting up a third. For Cork, some undistinguished showings , Luke Connolly showing steady improvement as the season advanced emerged as one of Cork's more consistent forwards in the Super 8s and posted a 1-3 tally.
All so frustrating for Cork in the Super 8s, coming up short to Dublin and Tyrone followed by a disappointing outcome to Roscommon. Still Cork are entitled to draw encouragement from the series. The loudest cheer in Páirc Uí Rinn was reserved for the All Ireland winning Cork u20 team at half time, some of whom will surely figure at senior level in 2020.
Those that braved 70 minutes saw plenty of late action, Roscommon, the hungrier of the two sides rubber-stamped victory with a Shane Killordan goal before the Rebels lost a chance of a reprieve, substitute Stephen Sherlock denied by reflex saves from Rossie 'keeper Darren O'Malley.