O'Neill points the way as Rebels' early blitz kills off Monaghan
Cork 1-20 Monaghan 1-13
A first win in four league games for Cork was underpinned by a blistering start at Pairc Ui Rinn yesterday.
With 1-5 on the board before Monaghan got their opening point, the hosts led by 10 points at one stage in the first half. While Monaghan cut the lead to four at one stage, Cork had a six-point advantage by half-time and never looked like being caught in the second half.
"I am encouraged by our attitude," Cork manager Peadar Healy said. "I am encouraged with the likes of Sean Kiely by his workrate, I am encouraged by Colm O'Driscoll and his work rate, I am encouraged by Peter Kelleher and his work rate. That is what I will take out of today's game.
"We'll park it now. Two weeks time is another big championship match for us. Down are coming down here, they will have nothing to lose. We need two points again if we want to survive in Division 1."
With the poor results having left them in danger of relegation, Healy was pleased that this result gives the table a better complexion from the Cork point of view.
"Oh absolutely, two points are vital to us given the position we are in," he said.
"Having said that, I don't think Monaghan were at their best today, let's be honest about that; the journey down, we know ourselves from travelling long distances. They'll be there or thereabouts come the business end of championship.
"For our boys, the big thing was work rate."
Colm O'Neill had the goal for the home side on seven minutes, a low finish to the corner from Peter Kelleher's lay-off after Paul Kerrigan's delivery, and he had a couple of points too.
While Conor McManus got Monaghan off the mark in the 11th minute, they remained on the back foot as Cork continued to flow, Mark Collins' point making it 1-10 to 0-3 on 29. From nothing, though, Monaghan got back in the game.
When Ryan Wylie was fouled, McManus showed quick thinking with the free as he passed to the unmarked Conor McCarthy, who found the net. Darren Hughes added a point before two boomers by McManus and there were just four between the teams.
Cork didn't look like wavering, however. Collins and Colm O'Neill ensured that they led by six, 1-12 to 1-6, at half-time and they scored four of the first five points in the second half, with Colm O'Driscoll, O'Neill (two) and Kevin O'Driscoll all on target and McManus having Monaghan's only response.
With no goal chances, Monaghan didn't look like eating into the Cork advantage, with Kevin Crowley and subs Dan Mac Eoin and Daniel Goulding all registering late points for the hosts. Even though they finished with 14 men as Kevin O'Driscoll was black-carded at the death - following his brother, Brian - Cork were comfortable at the end.
Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke had left themselves too much to do, giving Cork that early head-start.
"We're very disappointed with how we started," he said.
"We were hoping to get a foothold in the game from the word 'go' and that didn't happen. Cork hit the ground running, they were helped by a wee bit of a breeze but they played good football and we didn't.
"We got the goal back and six points at half-time wasn't insurmountable but Cork started the second half well.
"There are a lot of things we need to look at. We came down looking for a big performance but it just didn't work out."
Scorers - Cork: C O'Neill 1-8 (0-6f), M Collins, B O'Driscoll 0-2 each, L Connolly (0-1f), C O'Driscoll, K O'Driscoll, K Crowley, P Kerrigan, P Kelleher, D Goulding, D Mac Eoin 0-1 each. Monaghan: C McManus 0-8 (0-6f), C McCarthy 1-0, R Beggan (0-2f), D Hughes 0-2 each, R McAnespie 0-1 each.
CORK - R Price; J O'Sullivan, E Cadogan, K Crowley; T Clancy, B O'Driscoll, K O'Driscoll; I Maguire, S Kiely; M Collins, L Connolly, C O'Driscoll; C O'Neill, P Kelleher, P Kerrigan. Subs: B Hurley for Connolly (47), K O'Hanlon for Kiely (52), M Shields for B O'Driscoll (57, black card), R Deane for C O'Driscoll (58), D Mac Eoin for O'Neill (61).
MONAGHAN - R Beggan; C Walshe, D Wylie, R Wylie; D Mone, F Kelly, R McAnespie; K O'Connell, N McAdam; S Carey, D Malone, G Doogan; C McCarthy, D Hughes, C McManus. Subs: V Corey for Doogan (half-time), O Duffy for Malone (44), F McGeough for McCarthy (58).
Ref - P O'Sullivan (Kerry).