Cork back in hunt

CORK put the disappointment of losing their Munster title to Tipperary behind them when they crushed Galway in a one-sided ESB All-Ireland MHC quarter-final at Croke Park yesterday.

The victory was as emphatic as the scoreline suggests as a clearly superior Cork side out-hurled their opponents in every sector, suggesting they’ll have a big say in the destination of this year’s title. Dublin will now provide the opposition in the semi-final in a fortnight’s time.

Clearly unhappy with their Munster final performance, the Cork selectors made changes and they worked a treat. Conor Hurley was excellent at corner back; Seamus Farrell ensured they won the midfield exchanges while Michael O’Mahony was a revelation up front, scoring three excellent points.

The positional switches also worked well for the Munster side. Jack Herlihy was rock-solid at centre back while Chris O’Donovan looked far happier on the wing. Michael Bowles was back to his best form at centre forward while Luke O’Farrell, and Ryan Clifford took their scores at every opportunity as the Cork attack chalked up 2-14 from play.

Galway were a huge disappointment and some thought has to be given to ensuring the westerners get some badly needed championship competition before they reach this stage.

The game got off to a lively start when Keith Killilea cut a line ball over the bar from 50 metres out to give Galway an early lead, but it was a false dawn.

Cork were level a minute later when Michael Bowles pointed, and hurling solidly all over the field, they scorched into an 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes.

The Cork tactic of running at the Galway defence at every opportunity had the Tribesmen in all sorts of trouble, Michael Bowles being particularly effective in that regard. With Ryan Clifford punishing the frees, the Leesiders were full value for their 0-8 to 0-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

The pressure on the Galway defence was relentless and it finally yielded a goal in the 17th minute.

The highly impressive Luke O’Farrell took off on a great solo run before parting inside to Donagh Stack; the big full forward turned one way then the other and in the process lost his marker before billowing the net from close range.

It was clear that it was going to take something special from last year’s beaten finalists to turn this game around.

Galway’s raids on the Cork defence were sporadic while the Leesiders had clearly learnt their lesson from the Munster final defeat by Tipperary, and they finished with a succession of points to lead 1-12 to 0-5 at half time.

Galway were in need of a goal or two if they were to turn this game around, but they faced a resolute Cork defence in which Alwyin Kearney, Jack Herlihy and ‘keeper Darren McCarthy never put a foot wrong.

Cork continued to dictate matters all over the field and after a succession of points, they finally closed the door on Galway when Ryan Clifford touched home his side’s second goal as the Munster side finally got their All-Ireland challenge firmly back on track.

An interesting sub was Cian McCarthy from the Sarsfields club, a son of the legendary Teddy McCarthy who won dual All-Ireland medals in 1990.

Scorers: Cork: R. Clifford 1-5 (0-4 frees); M., Bowles 0-4; D. Stack 1-1; M. O'Mahony, K. O'Farrell 0-3 each; S. Farrell 0-2; J. Herlihy 0-1 (65). Galway: K. Killilea, E. Forde (0-1 65) 0-3 each; E. Moloney, J. Hennelly 0-1 (free).

CORK: D. McCarthy; C. Hurley, A. Kearney, K. Murphy; L. McLoughlin, J. Herlihy, C. O'Donovan; S. Farrell, D. O'Sullivan; P. Gould, M. Bowles, M. O'Mahony; L. O'Farrell, D. Stack, R. Clifford.

Subs: R. White for Gould; S. McDonnell for O'Sullivan; C. McCarthy for Stack; G. O'Connor for Hurley; F. Keane for O'Mahony.

GALWAY: K. Finnegan; N. Donoghue, M. McMahon, S. Lambert; D. Burke, R. Larkin, S. Óg Linnane; E. Forde, E. Mahoney; C. Flynn, K. Killilea, B. Burke; S. Coen, G. Kelly, A. Dolan.

Subs: J. Hennelly for Flynn; D. Cooney for Larkin; R. Madden for Dolan. G. Murray for Burke; N. Quinn for Donoghue.

Referee: J. Owens (Wexford).

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