Monday 23 October 2017

Rebels avenge Donegal defeat

Cork 0-12 Donegal 0-10

IT might not have exorcised the demons of last August's All-Ireland semi-final loss, but Cork finished strongly to overcome Donegal at Pairc Ui Rinn last night and advance their chances of reaching the Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-finals.

IT might not have exorcised the demons of last August's All-Ireland semi-final loss, but Cork finished strongly to overcome Donegal at Pairc Ui Rinn last night and advance their chances of reaching the Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-finals.

When Michael Murphy converted a '45' in the 43rd minute, Donegal led by 0-7 to 0-5, but from a position where they were struggling, Cork managed to impressively turn things around to secure a third successive win after beginning with two losses.

Despite Cork starting with wing-forwards Andrew O'Sullivan and Fintan Goold dropping deep to assist the defence, Donegal began well and were in a 0-3 to 0-0 lead inside five minutes, Murphy with two points and Patrick McBrearty getting the other.

Cork found their feet thanks to two excellent Colm O'Neill points, one with each foot, and the stage looked set for an intense game, the hosts attempting to match their opponents by funnelling men back at every opportunity and looking to attack with great pace.

After Colm McFadden and Barry O'Driscoll exchanged points, the game took an irrevocable turn as O'Neill crumpled in a heap when trying to win a ball in the 16th minute. Cork's most threatening attacker had to be stretchered off, the extent of the damage for O'Neill – who had previously suffered two cruciate ligament injuries – not known by the end of the game.

His absence denied Cork a focal point up front. The strong wall of defence put up by Donegal proved too difficult to breach, with the home side reduced to speculative crossfield passes in a bid to stretch their opponents.

Donegal were more impressive in their attempts to cut through at the other end, but even so they were not operating in top gear.

With a two-point interval advantage, at half-time Donegal were favourites to go on and win after the restart, and though Paul Kerrigan cut the gap, Ross Wherity twice had goal chances for Jimmy McGuinness's side in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Dead balls from Michael Murphy ensured that Donegal responded to any efforts Cork made to make inroads, such as after good scores from Kerrigan and Paudie Kissane, but with the game becoming loose, Collins and sub Liam Shorten had Cork level at 0-7 each by the 47th minute.

Aided by the introduction of Donncha O'Connor, Cork now had the momentum, but they struggled to take advantage. Kissane and Shorten both had chances to put them ahead for the first time but both did poorly with scoreable opportunities.

Andrew O'Sullivan finally did the needful, fisting over after Kerrigan did well to win Kissane's delivery, and with Donegal not as fluent as they could be, Cork sensed victory, Shorten with another after Michael Shields hit the post with a long-range effort. Kissane again and Collins added others as the fight went out of Donegal, and while a Murphy free and a McFadden '45' set up a tense finish, Cork held out.

Scorers – Cork: M Collins 0-3, P Kissane, C O'Neill, L Shorten 0-2 each, A O'Sullivan, B O'Driscoll, P Kerrigan 0-1 each. Donegal: M Murphy 0-5 (4f, 1 '45'), C McFadden 0-3 (1 '45', 2f), P McBrearty, D Molloy 0-1 each.

Cork: K O'Halloran; J O'Sullivan, M Shields, E Cadogan; T Clancy, N O'Leary, P Kissane; G Canty, A Walsh; A O'Sullivan, F Goold, M Collins; B O'Driscoll, C O'Neill, P Kerrigan. Subs: L Shorten for O'Neill (18), D O'Connor for Goold (45), A O'Connor for J O'Sullivan (61), E O'Mahony for Canty (65), D Goulding for A O'Sullivan (70).

Donegal: P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; D Walsh, F McGlynn, L McLoone; R Kavanagh, M Murphy; R Bradley, P McBrearty, R Wherity; D Molloy, C McFadden, N Gallagher. Subs: M McElhinney for Molloy (53), R McHugh for Wherity (53).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).

Irish Independent

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