Sheehan gets title holders up and running

CORK got the defence of their Munster minor football championship title off to the best possible start at the Gaelic Grounds last night, inflicting a three goal defeat on Limerick in a one sided first round tie.

There will be tougher games ahead for Cork, but new coach Michael Slocum will be pleased with the efforts of his charges who were always on top and never looked like losing.

The visitors served notice of their intentions early when Ciaran Sheehan soloed 50 metres before kicking a splendid point a minute in. Limerick’s cause wasn’t helped by the loss of wing back Loren Kelly with a leg injury in the same sequence of play, but the powerfully built Cormac Joyce-Power levelled the game with a point in the sixth minute.

With wind advantage after winning the toss, Cork went in search of a sizeable half-time lead, and, helped by the aerial dominance of Brian Kelleher, they controlled midfield. But faulty finishing cost them several scores before they began to find the target.

Two excellent points by Eoin Buckley were quickly followed by an excellent Sheehan goal after Cian Fleming made the opening for him.

The wind was clearly a factor and Cork with Sheehan and Eoin Buckley sparkling in attack, laid siege to the Limerick goal. Buckley showed his class with his second brace of points in a row as Cork led 1-5 to 0-2 after 20 minutes.

However, the home side gradually began to apply pressure on the Cork defence, chiefly through the efforts of wing back Michael Sheehan and Seamus Carroll, and coupled with the excellent free taking of Paraic McEnery — he pointed two frees in a row — the deficit was down to a goal coming up to the break.

Cork always had the facility to score when danger really threatened, and the impressive Sheehan added two further points to give his side a comfortable half-time lead of 1-8 to 0-6.

Wind assisted Limerick needed a goal if they were to get back into the game, and were denied it by a superb save by Cork netminder Darren Farry from Shane Garry just after the restart. A goal then and the Shannonsiders might have made a match of it.

While there wasn’t the same fluency in their forward play in the second half, the points continued to flow for Cork. Impressive corner forward Cian Fleming pointed three frees in a row and by the end of the third quarter the defending champions had stretched their lead to two goals. They were never going to be caught form there.

Limerick rearranged their team completely for the last quarter in an effort to stave off defeat but a resolute Cork defence in which goalkeeper Farry, full back Cillian Brosnan and wing back Daniel Twomey gave nothing away.

It was left to team captain Paraic McEnery to prevent Limerick from being completely over run and his excellence from placed balls earned him two more points.

It was a vain effort however and Cork put the final nail in Limerick’s challenge when Brendan Horgan’s shot found the net to leave the Leesiders comfortable winners at the final whistle.

Scorers: Cork: C Sheehan 1-3; E Buckley 0-5; C Fleming 0-4 (frees); B Horgan 1-0; B O’Driscoll 0-1. Limerick: P McEnery 0-7 (0-5 frees, 0-1 45); C Joyce-Power 0-2; S Carroll 0-1.

CORK: D Farry; C Cronin, C Brosnan, J O’Connor; P Daly, F O’Shea, D Twomey; B Kelleher, P Wiley; C Sheehan, B O’Driscoll, M Collins; E Buckley, B Horgan, C Fleming.

Subs: M Minihane for Cronin; P Honohan for Buckley.

LIMERICK: S Murphy; A Morrissey, P Begley, T Barrett; M Sheehan, J Browne, L Kelly; B O’Brien, C Joyce-Power; S Carroll, E O’Connor, J Walsh; E McEnery, S Garry, P McEnery.

Subs: C Behan for Kelly; D Bonfil for Walsh; S Flavin for Sheehan; C Ryan for O’Connor; D Kelly for Garry.

Referee: J Brew (Clare).

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