McEneaney laments turnovers as Rebels do enough
Last year's double champions Cork remain in contention to retain their league crown after seeing off Monaghan at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday.
While they should probably have won by more, they could not shake off a dogged Monaghan, who were always in the game and could have taken the points with a bit more composure in attack.
Not that Cork were anywhere near top form themselves -- the starting full-forward line of Daniel Goulding, Donncha O'Connor and Ciaran Sheehan scored just two points form play between them -- but in defenders Eoin Cadogan and Denis O'Sullivan they had two of the game's best players, while Pearse O'Neill contributed five points.
Manager Conor Counihan, while pleased with the result, knew that the performance left a lot to be desired.
"In the first half we had a lot of ball," he said. "We probably didn't kill off as much as we would have liked, gave away a few soft scores and in fairness to Monaghan they never stopped coming back at us.
"Today was a day where we should have got more scores on the board but we didn't do it, and we faded out there as well a little, so there's plenty room for work on that as well."
With four points from their first three games, Cork are now in third place in the table, with just Dublin and Down ahead of them.
The Mourne men are the Rebels' next opponents in a repeat of the All-Ireland final, and Counihan is well aware aware that it's vital to come out on top in close games.
"There are no easy games in this league; if you look at most of the games played, there's a point or two in most of them and it'll be the same again next week," he said.
"If you're not up for it and you're not doing the business, you'll be in trouble."
There didn't seem to be any sign of trouble as the hosts moved into a 0-3 to nil lead in the first 10 minutes, but Monaghan came gradually into the game, a Conor McManus free bringing the deficit back to 0-4 to 0-2 before they surprisingly took the lead with an Owen Duffy goal.
Gavin Doogan's point attempt looped up into the air and McManus did well to win it. After he passed to Doogan, the ball ended up with Duffy, who gave Ken O'Halloran no chance from close range.
Despite the green flag, Cork were on top generally, Aidan Walsh and Fintan Goold doing well in the air, and O'Neill's second point put them 0-7 to 1-3 up. Then came the second lucky goal of the match, as Sheehan tried to fist a point from a tight angle but the ball travelled across goal, where Kelly retrieved it before beating Keogh to open up a four-point lead.
That gap remained at the break, Cork ahead 1-9 to 1-5, and when Kelly extended the lead further early in the second half, Cork looked as if they would win at their leisure.
The Farney men were not for wilting, though, a pair of fine Duffy points and two Paul Finlay frees helping to reel their opponents in -- with 10 minutes left there was just two in it, 1-11 to 1-9.
That proved to be as close as it got, Cork's O'Neills -- Pearse and sub Colm -- doing their bit to ensure they stayed ahead, and while Mark Downey hit the crossbar from distance in injury-time, Cork were not to be denied.
For Monaghan manager Eamonn McEneaney, it was a case of lessons being learned.
"We gave away some very cheap turnovers: in the first half I think we were dispossessed something like eight times, which wasn't good enough," he said. "That's something that we need to work on and it's only through experience and time that these guys will learn that you can't carry the ball into the tackle against good-tackling teams."
Man of the Match: Eoin Cadogan (Cork)
Scorers -- Cork: P O'Neill 0-5, D Goulding 0-4 (3f), P Kelly 1-1, F Goold 0-2, C O'Driscoll, C O'Neill, D O'Connor 0-1 each.
Monaghan: O Duffy 1-3, P Finlay 0-3 (2f), C McManus (1f), D Clerkin 0-2 each, C McGuinness, D Mone 0-1 each.
CORK -- K O'Halloran 6; M Shields 6, E Cadogan 8, R Carey 5; C O'Driscoll 7, P Kissane 6, D O'Sullivan 8; A O'Connor 6, A Walsh 7; F Goold 7, P Kelly 7, P O'Neill 8; D Goulding 6, D O'Connor 5, C Sheehan 5. Subs: F Lynch 7 for Carey (h-t), P O'Flynn 6 for O'Driscoll (53), C O'Neill 6 for Goulding (61), N Murphy 6 for A O'Connor (68).
MONAGHAN -- M Keogh 7; Darren Hughes 7, C Walshe 6, K Duffy 7; David Hughes 6, D Mone 8, N McAdam 6; D Clerkin 7, B McKenna 6; J Turley 5, O Duffy 8, G Doogan 6; C McGuinness 5, P Finlay 6, C McManus 7. Subs: D Wylie 6 for McAdam (h-t) O Lennon 6 for McKenna (h-t), T Freeman 6 for Duffy (52), M Downey 6 for Turley (60), V Corey 6 for Finlay (69).
Ref -- D Coldrick (Meath).