While CIT’s priority is the Sigerson Cup, in which they meet DCU next week, they would still have been expected to challenge Cork here, especially after beating IT Tralee so comfortably in the quarter-final.
Cork selector Terry O’Neill admitted he was surprised the Rebels were not pushed. “To be honest, I thought they were a bit disappointing, as CIT teams would go,” he said.
“When you look through their team, they have a lot of current and former Kerry and Cork U21 players. Fellas lose sight of that as well, it’s a big, big step up from being a good U21 player to being a county senior player. The workrate of the players today and the strength that they’d have developed, it’s a different kettle of fish.”
Paul Kerrigan finished Cork’s top scorer with 1-6, his 13th-minute goal coming after he had scored three points in a row following an early switch into the full-forward line. After Micheál Ó Laoire, Kevin O’Sullivan and Patrick Kelly had linked well, Kelly’s handpass found Kerrigan in space and his finish past Brian Kelly was clinical as a 1-4 to 0-0 lead was opened up.
The other point had come from Fintan Goold inside 17 seconds. Goold was named at full-forward but switched with Kerrigan in the opening few minutes but actually spent much of his time sweeping around the half-back line.
It was a tactic that worked well, even if it did not receive a stress test. Whenever CIT gained possession in the Cork half, the ball-carrier found himself under heavy pressure from red jerseys, resulting in plenty of turnovers.
In contrast, when Cork were on the attack they moved the ball swiftly and with purpose and by the end of the opening half five of their six starting forwards had scored, profiting from the good work of Pearse O’Neill and Micheál Ó Laoire at midfield.
Making his first start, Ó Laoire did not look out of place as he covered a lot of ground and his late point was reward for his efforts. By that stage the Naomh Abán man was operating as a wing-forward, following the introduction of Nicholas Murphy to midfield and Cork’s reduction to 14 men when Colm O’Neill suffered a hamstring injury after all five subs had been used and was taken off as a precaution.
Not hitting the heights of his 2-4 salvo against Clare the previous week, O’Neill was still strongly involved and his second point of the game, when he gathered an excellent left-footed Graham Canty pass from deep before shooting from out on the left, made it 1-11 to 0-1 at half-time, Jerry O’Connor with CIT’s solitary point in the 27th minute.
Rory O’Sullivan was battling hard at midfield for the students and was he unlucky not to point on a couple of occasions, but even when CIT scored three of the first four points of the second-half a fightback was not a realistic proposition.
Just in case there were any doubts, Paudie Kissane followed up his 45th minute point with a well-taken goal after a lovely one-two with Colm O’Neill to make it 2-13 to 0-4.
Murphy could have had a third goal shortly after that but shot over the bar, however it made little material difference to the outcome.
Scorers for Cork: P Kerrigan 1-6 (0-3f, 0-1 45), P Kissane 1-1, C O’Neill 0-2, P O’Neill, M Ó Laoire, L Shorten, F Goold, K O’Sullivan, N O’Leary, F Lynch, N Murphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork IT: R O’Sullivan, H Curran 0-2 each, J O’Connor, C Fleming, D Óg Hodnett (0-1f) 0-1 each.
CORK: D Lordan; E Cotter, R Carey, K Harrington; S Kiely, G Canty, P Kissane; P O’Neill, M Ó Laoire; P Kelly, P Kerrigan, L Shorten; F Goold, C O’Neill, K O’Sullivan.
Subs: F Lynch for Kelly (33, injured), M Shields for Kiely, N O’Leary for Canty, A O’Connor for P O’Neill (all half-time), N Murphy for O’Sullivan (46).
CORK IT: B Kelly; N Galvin, M Griffin, D O’Sullivan; J Walsh, S O’Donoghue, B Maguire; R O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan; W O’Mahony, B O’Regan, D Leahy; J O’Connor, D Óg Hodnett, H Curran.
Subs: C Fleming for O’Mahony (half-time), P Kilkenny for R O’Sullivan (44), J Dineen for Leahy (48), J Dennis for Griffin (50), J Cronin for O’Connor (52).
Referee: D O’Mahony (Tipperary).