Derry 2-10 Cork 0-20
Cork’s footballers eased their relegation fears - and left Derry on the brink of the drop into Division Three - with a four-point win this afternoon that was notable for the fact that Colm O’Neill contributed over half their tally, writes Brendan O’Brien.
The corner-forward signed for nine points in the draw with Meath in the previous round but he went two better here with four from play, another quartet of frees and three from ‘45’s.
It was a sensational display of shooting from the Ballyclough man.
Paul Kerrigan chipped in with another quintet from play.
Cork began brightly on a day dominated by blue skies and one all but unperturbed by a lazy breeze that drifted across the pitch.
Up by four points to one within eight minutes, their hunger was evident in the way in which they were closing down Derry kickouts and running off the shoulder of colleagues, but the hosts claimed the next three points to leave things as they were at the first whistle with 15 gone.
Cork had already seen one goal chance slip by when Ian Maguire tried to fist pass a ball to Peter Kelleher on the edge of the small square and Kelleher himself would smack one off the post when put through one-on-one after 21 minutes.
Add in five other wasted attempts on goal and the potential for even greater damage was clear but the visitors were, despite all that, clearly the better side for most of a first-half that would last 55 minutes due to an injury to Derry defender Jason Rocks.
The corner-back shipped a late tackle from Stephen Cronin, for which the Cork player was booked, and he departed in an ambulance after almost 18 minutes lying on the field receiving attention.
The round of applause he received on leaving was the least he deserved.
Derry, with a trio of key men in Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Rogers and Danny Heavron back in the side this week, were the quicker to hit their stride on the restart with a goal from Danny Tallon propelling them into the lead for the first time.
It came from a quick ball into the forward line but Cork were more comfortable running at the home defenders and it delivered more results with three points to Derry’s one leaving the Munster side with a 0-10 to 1-6 lead at the break.
The first-half mirrored the first - not in length, thankfully, but with Cork content to tap points over at a regular rate and with Derry hanging onto their coat tails thanks to another goal from Tallon, this one finding its mark 52 minutes in.
That brought Derry back to within a point but a Cork team criticised for an inability to push home many an advantage in recent times reacted impressively, as they had to the first goal, and racked up the next four scores to see the game out and leave Derry standing over the trapdoor into the third tier.
Scorers for Derry: D Tallon (2-1); E Lynn and C McKaigue (both 0-2); B Herron (0-2 frees); N Forester, N Loughlin (both 0-1); M Lynch (0-1 free).
Scorers for Cork: C O’Neill (0-11, 4 frees, 3 ‘45’s); P Kerrigan (0-5); M Collins (0-2, 1 free); J O’Rourke and B O’Driscoll (0-1).
Derry: T Mallon; J Rocks, B Rogers, N Keenan; N Forester, C McKaigue, M Craig; P Cassidy, C McAtamney; E Lynn, E McGuckin, C Williams; D Tallon, N Loughlin, B Herron. Subs: C Mullan for Rocvks (27); M McEvoy for Mullan (34); D Heavron for Craig (45); M Lynch for McGuckin (51);.
Cork: K O’Halloran; M Shields, T Clancy (Clonakilty), K Crowley; T Clancy (Fermoy), J LOughrey, S Cronin; I Maguire, R Deane; K O’Driscoll, M Collins, J O’Rourke; C O’Neill, P Kelleher, P Kerrigan. Subs: C O’Driscoll for T Clancy (Fermoy, HT); D O’Connor for Kelleher (51); B O’Driscoll for O’Rourke (57); D Og Hodnett for Collins (62); C Dorman for Shields (64); J McLoughlin for Cronin (65).
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).
Allianz FL Division 4 Results:
Westmeath 3-24 Wexford 0-9
Leitrim 2-16 London 0-15