Goals decisive in Cork repeat
Cork 3-17 Down 0-15
Champions Cork turned on the style to repeat their All-Ireland final win over Down and keep their league hopes firmly on track with an impressive showing at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Eleven players found the range for Down but they were in trouble in midfield throughout and had no answers to Cork's goal-scoring ability.
A goal from Pearse O'Neill after a good pass from Paudie Kissane after six minutes proved to be the difference between the sides for long periods.
Cork led 1-9 to 0-10 at the interval and the sides were level after 43 minutes after Dan Hughes, Declan Rooney and Marty Clarke found the range in response to an effort from Finatn Goold.
But then Cork pulled away and when Paddy Kelly edged them in from after 45 minutes they went on to outscore Down by 1-5 to 0-1 in a 13-minute spell.
Colm O'Neill got the goal when he worked his way in from the left after a long pass from Noel O'Leary, finishing low from a tight angle.
Conor Garvey responded with a point for Down but that was their last score as David Goold and Ciaran Sheehan tacked on points before Paddy Kelly crowned the win with their third goal in the dying moments.
Down, who showed all the signs a of a side that had spent four hours on a bus, finished with 14 men when Aidan Branagan was red-carded for lashing out in retaliation at Fintan Goold, but it was never a dirty game.
Cork manager Conor Counihan said that the game was tighter than the final scoreline suggested. "The goals made all the difference in the end. We put a lot of work into goal scoring in training so it was good to see three of them going in."
Scorers -- Cork: D Goulding 0-7 (5f); P Kelly 1-2 (0-1f), C O'Neill 1-1, P O'Neill 1-0, F Goold 0-3, C Sheehan 0-2, A Walsh, D Goold 0-1 each.
Down: M Poland 0-3 (2f), R Murtagh, M Clarke (1f) 0-2, C Murdock (45), K McKernan, P Fitzpatrick, C Laverty, D Rooney, A Branagan, D Hughes, C Garvey 0-1 each.
Cork: K O'Halloran; R Carey, E Cadogan, M Shields; N O'Leary, P Kissane, D O'Sullivan; A O'Connor, N Murphy; F Goold, P Kelly, P O'Neill; D Goulding, C Sheehan, C O'Neill.
Subs: A Walsh for Murphy, 45; S Kiely for O'Sullivan, 45; F Lynch for O'Leary, 62; D Goold for O'Neill, 63; J Fitzpatrick for O'Connor, 67.
Down: C Murdock; G McCartan, D Gordon, L Howard; A Branagan, K McKernan, D Rooney; P Fitzpatrick, K King; D Hughes, M Poland, C Maginn; C Laverty, R Murtagh, M Clarke.
Subs: P McComiskey for Murtagh, 45; J Colgan for King, 45; C Garvey for Howard, 48; J Clarke for Laverty, 57; A Carr for M Clarke, 62.
Referee: D Fahy (Longford).
Sunday Indo Sport