Wednesday 17 January 2018

Red hot Rebels stun hosts

Colm O'Neill, Cork, in action against Aidan McCrory, Tyrone. Photo: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE
Colm O'Neill, Cork, in action against Aidan McCrory, Tyrone. Photo: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

A STRONG display of free-flowing football embellished by a series of well-taken scores ensured that Cork's campaign was put firmly back on track with this win over Tyrone.

It was clear from the start this the Rebels were intent on making their mark. And, they did so emphatically. Cork's ability to make space for themselves work well and yielded an early advantage. Colm O'Neill with a brace of pointed frees and then Barry O'Driscoll made it 0-3 to 0-0.

The key period for them was entering the closing stages of the second half when a flurry of Rebel scores left the home team with ground to make up at half-time and they couldn't get back into contention during a frustrating second period. Strong play around the key central positions yielded dividends for Cork during the opening stages.

Colm O'Neill with a brace of pointed frees and then Barry O'Driscoll made it 0-3 to 0-0 after making space for himself. Misplaced passes and a generally sluggish performance ensured that Tyrone simply weren't clicking.

While the scores were few and far between up until then, that renewed Tyrone urgency heralded some great football. What followed was a series of scores which enlivened the clash. Stephen O'Neill was orchestrating affairs for the Red Hands at this stage. He placed Ronan O'Neill for a well-taken point and added another himself, taking a pass from Ronan McNamee to fire over. Then, the team captain, returned to the role of provider in setting up Kyle Coney to leave the teams level at 0-3 each.

But then the dominant roles played by Noel O'Leary, Graham Canty and Mark Collins saw the Rebels regain the initiative. In contrast, Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh, Ronan O'Neill and Kyle Coney simply couldn't find the space needed to create clear-cut scoring chances. A tally of 0-5 to 0-1 during the closing stages of the opening period tell their own story.

The visitors found the target a lot easier. Colm O'Neill and Donncha O'Connor made it 0-5 to 0-3. Aidan Walsh registered a well-taken long range score, before Paul Kerrigan set up Donncha O'Connor leave them 0-7 to 0-4 up. Then, Paul Kerrigan extended the lead to four points at the interval break. Tyrone hoped to make their mark on the resumption, before Cork resumed in the manner which characterised their play so emphatically in the opening period.

A Mark Collins pointed free stretched the lead as when Aidan Walsh powered through the centre to leave Cork a comfortable six points ahead at 0-10 to 0-4. More importantly, though, they were controlling most of the key sectors. Players such as Noel O'Leary, Aidan Walsh, Graham Canty and Tomas Clancy formed a decisive defensive line just behind the midfield area. As a result, Joe McMahon, Sean Cavanagh and Aidan Cassidy struggled to break through despite their best efforts.

Cork always held the edge and their ability to hit the Red Hands on the counter-attack was crucial during the final quarter. Swapped points between Joe McMahon and Colm O'Neill made the score 0-12 to 0-6, but the number of wides and short-balls proved very disappointing. A point from Sean Cavanagh proved scant consolation for Tyrone and by then the result was never in doubt. Cork scores courtesy of Colm O'Neill and Paul Kerrigan stretched the lead to seven, 0-14 to 0-7, as they cruised to the final whistle, Conor Gormley completing the Tyrone scoring.

Cork: K O'Halloran; M Shields, P Kissane, E Cadogan; T Clancy, N O'Leary, J O'Sullivan; G Canty, A Walsh (0-3); F Goold, M Collins (0-1f), P Kerrigan (0-2); B O'Driscoll (0-1), C Sheehan, C O'Neill (0-5, 3f). Subs: D O'Connor (0-2) for Sheehan, J McLoughlin for O'Sullivan, C O'Driscoll for O'Driscoll.

Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, C Gormley (0-1f), C McCarron; R McKenna, Joe McMahon (0-1f), R McNamee; C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-1f); P McNeice, P Harte, Matthew Donnelly; K Coney (0-1), S O'Neill (0-1), R O'Neill (0-2, 1f). Subs: A Cassidy for McNeice, Mark Donnelly for R O'Neill, C McGinley for McKenna, M Penrose (0-1f) for Coney.

Referee: C Reilly (Meath)


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