Cork 2-10 CIT 1-11
THE small contingent of real enthusiasts who braved the elements in Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday would have been more interested in individual form than the outcome, which was fairly predictable.
Cork gained a semi-final place in the Waterford Crystal Cup primarily as a result of greater scoring power and the tried and trusted Neil Ronan made a significant contribution with eight points.
The value of the game, Cork selector and team spokesman Martin Bowen agreed, was in giving some of the newer players an outing in the absence of a number of regulars who were unavailable. Castletownroche’s Jonathan O’Callaghan would not fit into this category (having shown promise in the 2004 season until he ran into injury problems), but he was another to show up well.
"It was a good work-out, we were happy enough,’’ said Bowen.
"It was an opportunity to give a good few lads a try-out. At the moment we are looking at a group of about 35, but some of the players are tied up with the colleges. There were some good individual performances, but you could not read too much into them."
Cork began with six of their All-Ireland 15 and Joe Deane was one of three players introduced for the second half. Fully recovered from a recent illness, Deane had been working hard over the winter "the same as everybody else", said Bowen.
Centre-back Ronan Curran echoed the reaction of the crowd who had a special welcome for Deane on his return: "Joe is flying.
"Hopefully, he’ll have another good year again.’’
CIT included a number of Cork panellists such as ‘keeper Anthony Nash, who made one brilliant save late in the game, and Cathal Naughton, who had a relatively quiet outing. Kilkenny U21 captain Michael Fennelly was absent.
CIT had the wind advantage in the first half, but struggled for scores. Cork were four points clear after 17 minutes (before CIT got their first score, from a Maurice O’Sullivan free), and got the first of their goals 10 minutes later. It came from Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who operated at full-forward and showed some of the attacking instincts he demonstrated with Cloyne in the county championship. Winning a Graham Callinan clearance, he rounded the full-back before kicking the ball home.
With Ronan and O’Callaghan most impressive in the Cork attack — and CIT best served by Leigh Desmond and Maurice O’Sullivan — the half-time whistle saw the Munster champions ahead by 1-8 to 0-6.
The third quarter was quite competitive, with CIT lifting their challenge. However, Callanan was prominent on the wing and Cillian Cronin was in control at full-back. It was during this period that Nash brought off a wonderful save from centre-forward Ciaran McGann.
Ross Cashman of Kilbrittain at centre-back and Kerryman John Griffin at midfield were to the fore for the students and substitute John Hurney gave them some hope with a goal minutes after being introduced at centre-forward.
However, Cork had too much power. Team captain Kieran Murphy picked off two scores after missing some long-range frees in the first half and Ronan and O’Callaghan continued to be effective while Naughton was more involved for CIT at full-forward.
Conor Cusack scored Cork’s second goal in the 44th minute (just before he was taken off) and a succession of good scores saw them run out easy winners.
Michael Wadding had an easy task and managed it with competence.
Scorers for Cork: N. Ronan 0-8 (0-5 frees); J. O’Callaghan and K. Murphy 0-4 each; D. O’Sullivan and C. Cusack 1-0 each; C. McGann 0-2; M. O’Connell and K. Canty 0-1 each.
Scorers for CIT: J. Hurney 1-1; J. Griffin 0-3; C. Naughton 0-2; M. O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-1 free); B. Ring, B. Corry and L. Desmond 0-1 each.
CORK: D. Og Cusack; B. Murphy, C. Cronin, C. O’Connor; G. Callinan, R. Curran, P. Kelly; K. Murphy, M. O’Connell; J. O’Callaghan, C. McGann, T. McCarthy; N. Ronan, D. O’Sullivan, C. Cusack.
Subs: P. Fitzgerald for O’Connor, M. Coleman for D. Og Cusack and J. Deane for McCarthy (ht); K. Canty for C. Cusack (42nd minute); S. White for Kelly (50th).
CIT: A. Nash; M. Ryan, S. Murphy, B. Coleman; E. Dillon, R. Cashman, S. Horan; J. Griffin, A. Mannix; L. Desmond, N. Teehan, B. Corry; M. O’Sullivan, B. Ring, C. Naughton.
Subs: D. Murphy for Ryan (injured, 10th minute); M. Dunne for Mannix (second half); J. Hurney for Teehan (36th minute); B. Ahern for Horan (44th); C. O’Neill for Corry (55th).
Referee: M. Wadding (Waterford).