Cussen brace rouses Rebels

AN exhibition of point scoring by John Gardiner, plus two goals from local hero Michael Cussen, edged Cork to an exciting victory over Waterford in an entertaining challenge game to mark the official opening of the Sarsfields club’s new sand based pitch and flood-lighting system at Riverstown on Saturday night.

Na Piarsaigh ace Gardiner, playing at midfield, scored seven points, four from long-distance frees and three beauties from play, while full-forward Cussen took his goals well as Cork successfully staved off a strong Waterford bid for honours.

The sides were level on no fewer than eight occasions in a sea-saw battle for supremacy with outstanding wing forward Maurice Shanahan keeping Waterford in the hunt with his explosive scoring feats. The prolific Lismore marksman scored 11 points, seven from frees, as Davy Fitzgerald’s side threw down the gauntlet to the home side.

They were deadlocked for the first time at 0-2 apiece before Cussen pounced to score his first goal in the seventh minute.

But Waterford never allowed daylight to open up between the sides and were themselves denied goals on two occasions thanks to the brilliance of Cork goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack.

With Cusack at the top of his form and full-back David Cunningham of Glen Rovers also excelling Waterford found their path to goal resolutely barred until right corner forward Shane Walsh finally found the target with a goal in the 21st minute which levelled matters again at 1-6 to 1-6. However, with Gardiner striking the ball sweetly and accurately, Cork went in at half time leading by 1-10 to 1-9.

Cork made five substitutions during the interval break with Tom Kenny, William Egan, Cian McCarthy, Graham Callanan and Tadgh Óg Murphy replacing Conor O’Sullivan, Shane O’Neill, Mark O’Sullivan, Niall McCarthy and Patrick Horgan.

Sarsfields’ Cian McCarthy was a marked success, scoring three delightful points following his introduction. But, with Shanahan unerring in his free-taking duties, Waterford kept in touch and the sides were level again at 1-14 apiece entering the last quarter.

Then, running on to a cross from Tadgh Óg Murphy in the 49th minute, Sarsfields club colleague Cussen swooped to score what proved the matchwinning goal.

Although reduced to 14-men following the dismissal of midfielder Ritchie Foley for a straight red card, Waterford fought to the bitter end but Cork resolutely hung on for what manager Denis Walsh labelled “a very pleasing result”.

Scorers for Cork: M Cussen 2-1; J Gardiner 0-7 (0-4 from frees); C McCarthy 0-3; P Horgan 0-3 (0-2 from frees); F O’Leary 0-1.

Waterford scorers: S Walsh 1-0; M Shanahan 0-11 (0-7 from frees); R Foley 0-2; K Moran 0-2; J Murray and A Power (free) 0-1 each.

CORK: D Óg Cusack; S Murphy, D Cunningham, C O’Sullivan; S O’Neill, R Curran, S Óg O hAilpín; J Gardiner, R Ryan; F O’Leary, M O’Sullivan, N McCarthy; K Murphy, M Cussen, P Horgan.

Subs: T Kenny for C O’Sullivan; W Egan for O’Neill; C McCarthy for M O’Sullivan; G Callanan for N McCarthy; T Óg Murphy for Horgan.

WATERFORD: A Power; J Meagher, L Lawlor, N Connors; A Kearney, M Walsh, J Nagle; R Foley, J Murray; T Connors, K Moran, M Shanahan; S Walsh, G Hurney, T Ryan.

Subs: S Molumphy ffor Ryan; M O’Neill for S Walsh; M Jacob for Hurney.

Referee: M O’Connor (Limerick).

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