Cork edge past battling Limerick

All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Round 4

Cork 0-16 Limerick 1-11 (aet)

Cork needed 90 minutes to get the better of Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds tonight, but ultimately the Rebels prevailed to reach a sixth All-Ireland quarter-final in a row.

After the 70 minutes of normal time failed to produce a winner, Limerick having a great comeback, extra time was needed, with Cork eventually coming out on the right side of the scoreline.

They had to dig deep to do so as Limerick showed great character to get themselves back into the game, but overall Cork were the better side.

The sides were level at half-time, 0-5 each, though Limerick could, and should, have had a comfortable lead by that stage.

They played most of the football in the opening half, and could have had a commanding lead by the 13th minute, with Cork still scoreless.

Only for ill-luck, the Shannonsiders’ advantage would have been bigger at that point as, in the space of a minute, the frame of the goal denied them twice.

First, James Ryan gave a lovely lay-off to put Seanie Buckley in but his shot crashed back off the crossbar and seconds later Ian Ryan, who was otherwise kept under Michael Shields’ shackles in the half, saw a point effort come back off the post.

Limerick were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal when a Derek Kavanagh point and a Daniel Goulding free left just a point in it by the 16th minute, though Stephen Lavin did restore some breathing space after his fine effort.

Even though they were in touch, Cork were struggling and Limerick’s James O’Donovan and John Galvin were getting the better of the midfield exchanges but on 24 Cork could have gained the lead, Kerrigan finding Colm O’Neill with a lovely pass but Brian Scanlon produced a fine save to tip the ball over.

Goulding levelled soon and though Stephen Kelly restored the Limerick lead, Colm O’Neill ensured parity at half-time after a fisted point.

By the third minute of the second half though, Cork were two points clear, Aidan Walsh and Goulding on target, though Cork were suffering from Patrick Kelly’s inaccuracy from placed balls.

Lavin cut the gap to just a point with his second and then James Ryan was on target to tie it again by 47, but the momentum was with Cork, however, as two more converted frees from Goulding indicated, while being able to bring Nicholas Murphy and Donncha O’Connor off the bench was a luxury that Limerick did not have.

Further points, from Goulding and Sheehan, followed to open up the game’s biggest lead, 0-12 to 0-7, with Cork now dominant around the middle from kickouts as Limerick’s time without a score continued to mount up.

In the end, that counter was allowed to run to the 22-minute mark, Collins adding his fourth point, but by that stage, the score only seemed to serve to cut the gap from five to four.

In injury time though, under a dropping ball Alan O’Connor fouled John Galvin and Collins nailed the penalty before sub Conor Fitzgerald tied the game to force the additional 20 minutes.

During the first period of the extra time, the play was littered with elementary mistakes on both sides, most notably Collins shooting wide after a mix-up in the Cork defence allowed him a clear run from 40 metres, and with Cork misfiring too, Donncha O’Connor’s two points were the only scores before the turnaround.

Despite having had three weeks off since the Kerry game while Cork had two games behind them, it was actually Limerick who began to look the more tired in the second period, and the feeling persisted that they needed another goal.

A booming free from the 45 by goalkeeper Brian Scanlon was morale-lifting, but Cork had the upper hand, and a beautiful Kelly point settled them before Ian Ryan’s late point made things tight but Goulding’s free clinched it.

CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, J O’Sullivan; G Canty, N O’Leary, P Kissane; D Kavanagh (0-1), A Walsh (0-1); C Sheehan (0-1), P Kelly (0-1), P O’Neill; C O’Neill (0-2), P Kerrigan, D Goulding (0-7, 0-5f).

Subs: N Murphy for Walsh, D O’Connor (0-2, 0-1f) for Kerrigan (both 49), A O’Connor (0-1) for Kavanagh (58), F Goold for Kelly (70), Kelly for Goold (start of extra time), E Cotter for Shields (75, injured), Kerrigan for Sheehan (87, injured), Goold for A O’Connor (90).

LIMERICK: B Scanlon (0-1f); M O’Riordan, J McCarthy, A Lane; S Lucey, S Lavin (0-2), P Ranahan; J O’Donovan, J Galvin; P Browne, I Ryan (0-1f), S Buckley; G Collins (1-4, 1-0 penalty, 0-2f), S Kelly (0-1), J Ryan (0-1).

Subs: S Gallagher for McCarthy (blood, 23-25), C Mullane for O’Riordan (41), E Joy for Browne (43), C Fitzgerald (0-1) for Buckley (52), Gallagher for Lucey (62, injured), E O’Connor for I Ryan (66), J Mullane for O’Donovan (blood, 68-69), Browne for Ranahan (start of extra time), Buckley for Joy (74), I Ryan for O’Connor (80), J Mullane for Collins (84).

Referee:P Hughes (Armagh).

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