Saturday 21 April 2018

Rebels get Royal shot in the arm

Cork 2-16 Meath 1-15

Donal Lenihan of Meath has little room to manoeuvre as he is tackled by Cork’s Sean White and Kevin Flahive. Photo: Sportsfile
Donal Lenihan of Meath has little room to manoeuvre as he is tackled by Cork’s Sean White and Kevin Flahive. Photo: Sportsfile

Sean Wall

Cork boss Ronan McCarthy made the trip to the Royal County seeking two badly needed league points plus a decent performance from his charges, following a poor display in their last outing against Cavan.

He got both yesterday, as the Leesiders eased away from the relegation zone and kept themselves in the race for promotion back to Division 1.

Mark Collins of Cork in action against Donal Keogan of Meath. Photo: Sportsfile
Mark Collins of Cork in action against Donal Keogan of Meath. Photo: Sportsfile

"We'd have been extremely disappointed with the level of performance against Cavan at home," McCarthy said afterwards.

"They were well-deserving on the day, but we were way off it, particularly in the first-half. What we were looking for, I know it's a cliche but we were looking for performance today and we got it I think, generally, throughout the game.

Fight

"When you look at the games that Meath had, two games in a row, losses, it was one of those situations where it was a relegation fight almost because one or the other of us was going to get dragged into it (if we lost). To get that level of performance in those conditions was very satisfying,"

Donal Lenihan of Meath in action against Sean White of Cork. Photo: Sportsfile
Donal Lenihan of Meath in action against Sean White of Cork. Photo: Sportsfile

However the Douglas club man wasn't talking up his side's promotion hopes just yet.

"It's a very funny league. We've a home game now and our form at home has been very poor, but hopefully we'll be able to improve on that next weekend."

With the full-forward line of Colm O'Neill, Mark Collins and John O'Rourke contributing 2-14 between them, Cork were always in the ascendancy and never trailed at any stage.

O'Rourke finished to the net after an O'Neill effort was half-blocked by Meath goalkeeper David Gallagher on 11 minutes.

Meath, though, responded well to reduce the deficit to the minimum, but they missed good chances to at least gain parity and only added another point before the break from Thomas O'Reilly.

With O'Neill, who finished with 1-6, and Collins contributing seven points, Cork kept a safe distance between themselves and their rivals for most of the second-half.

The lead extended to six points on a number of occasions before the home side staged a brief rally to reduce it back to four.

However, their chances of a revival were dashed when a short kick-out by veteran goalkeeper David Gallagher went astray and O'Rourke set up O'Neill, who blasted to the net.

Meath did manage a consolation goal in the fifth minute of added time when corner-back Seamus Lavin found the net.

Earlier a brief melee ended with Meath's Brian Power receiving a second yellow card, while Mark Collins was also dismissed on receipt of a black card.

This third defeat in a row for the Meath men leaves them deep in relegation trouble ahead of their trip to Drogheda to take on neighbours Louth on Sunday.

That is a must-win game and they will also need to get something from their final outing at home to Down if they are to avoid the drop.

Scorers - Cork: C O'Neill 1-6 (2f), M Collins 0-7 (4f), J O'Rourke 1-1, S White, M Taylor 0-1 each Meath: C O'Sullivan 0-4 (2f), D Lenhihan 0-4 (4f), S Lavin 1-0, G Reilly 0-3, T O'Reilly 0-2, B Brennan (f) J McEntee 0-1 each

Cork - M White 7; K Flahive 7, J O'Sullivan 7, K Crowley 7; T Clancy 7, B O'Driscoll 6, M Taylor 7; I Maguire 8, C O'Hanlon 7; K O'Driscoll 7, S White 7, R Deane 6; M Collins 8, C O'Neill 9, J O'Rourke 8. Subs: M McSweeney 7 for Deane (39 mins), C Dorman 7 for B O'Driscoll (39), M Hurley 6 for S White (62), C Kiely 5 for Crowley (66, black card), D O'Connor for O'Neill (70), P Kelleher for K O'Driscoll (70). Collins black card 76, not replaced.

Meath - D Gallagher 6; S Lavin 6, C McGill 6, Donal Keogan 8; M Burke 6, B Power 6, S McEntee 6; B Menton 7, B Conlon 6; G Reilly 7, B Brennan 6, J McEntee 6; C O'Sullivan 7, T O'Reilly 7, Donal Lenihan 7. Subs: H Rooney 7 for Burke (31 mins), E Wallace 6 for Brennan (54), S Tobin 5 for O'Reilly (62), P McKeever 5 for Lenhihan (65), B McMahon for Shane McEntee (69).

Ref - S Hurson (Tyrone)

Irish Independent

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