Cork got the proverbial dream start attacking the clubhouse end in front of 344 spectators, Colm O’Driscoll goaling from close range in the first minute. Two Donncha O’Connor frees and an Andrew O’Sullivan effort from play made it 1-3 to 0-0 on six minutes.
The heavy pitch tested the players early on, with plenty of misjudged hops and pick-ups, and Cork’s greater determination restricted UL, limiting the students’ ability to find dangerman James O’Donoghue of Kerry up front.
It took UL 14 minutes to register a shot, which went wide. Cork went downfield from the kick-out and Donncha O’Connor and Tomas Clancy combined to place Micheal Ó Laoghaire for another goal: 2-5 to no 0-0.
UL responded: John O’Rourke hit a point and then O’Donoghue showed his class with a fine shot which rattled the post. The same player added a free soon afterwards and then chipped in with a good point from play: 2-5 to 0-3 on 18 minutes.
The game fell in intensity then, though UL managed four wides on the bounce before Cork had points from Kevin O’Driscoll and Andrew O’Sullivan.
The students managed late points from Paul White and Brian O’Shea but there was still time for Cork to string a last move together, Paul Kerrigan flicking the ball to the net from the edge of the square: 3-8 to 0-5 at the break.
O’Donoghue pointed a free on the resumption but Cork’s response was instantaneous and emphatic. Mark Sugrue found Donncha O’Connor, who freed Daniel Goulding to slam home Cork’s fourth goal. With the intercounty side 14 points to the good, 4-9 to 0-7, the second-half petered out rather than progressed. Cork added a Barry O’Driscoll goal and another green flag from Goulding, finishing the day 27 points ahead of their opponents.
It was even more of a rout than last week’s hammering of Limerick Institute of Technology, but Cork manager Brian Cuthbert sifted some positives out of the game.
“Conditions were a lot more difficult this week,” said Cuthbert. “But to score what we did was pleasing. One or two of our goals were a bit fortuitous. When a college team plays an intercounty team and goes 2-5 to 0-0 down early on they’ll find it very hard to pull it back and that puts a different gloss on the game. Getting a goal from our first attack and tacking on few points, that put the game to a bed. There were a lot of things we’d like to work on, some of them we did, some of them we didn’t. But I can’t question the endeavour, or the attitude from the players.
“I think there were 10 minutes in the first-half where they hit five points in a row that we’d be very disappointed with, but in the second-half we completely controlled the game.”
Next week Cork take on Kerry in the competition decider. Cuthbert said Cork had achieved their aim of three outings in the McGrath Cup, which isn’t the same as saying next weekend doesn’t matter to either team .
“The aim was to get three games in this, and that’ll be three games,” said Cuthbert. “We’d like to win Sunday but if we don’t it won’t be the end of the world. I read somewhere that Kerry haven’t lost a McGrath Cup game in seven years, and I presume they’ll go all-out to make that eight years. We’ll be at home, whether here (in Mallow) or elsewhere and we’ll want to win, too.
“After that we have a two-week lead-in to the national league, and the game against Westmeath. We’ll have all our student players back for that two weeks and once the league starts, the whole thing takes off.”
Scorers for Cork: D. Goulding 2-4 (three frees); P. Kerrigan 1-2; M. O Laoghaire 1-1; C. O’Driscoll, B. O’Driscoll 1-0 each; D. O’Connor 0-3 (two frees); A. O’Sullivan, F. Goold 0-2 each; M. Collins, K. O’Driscoll 0-1 each.
Scorers for UL: J. O’Donoghue 0-4 (three frees); B. O’Shea, P. White and J. O’Rourke 0-1 each.
CORK: K. O’Halloran, J. McLoughlin, N. Galvin, T. Clancy, K. O’Driscoll, F. Goold, J. Loughrey, M. O Laoghaire, A. O’Sullivan, P. Kerrigan, M. Sugrue, C. O’Driscoll, D. Goulding, D. O’Connor, J. Hayes.
Subs: B. O’Driscoll and M. Collins for D. O’Connor and J. Hayes, both 42; K. Crowley for McLoughlin, 47; C. Lyons for Sugrue, 55; S. Murphy for C. O’Driscoll, 60; C. O’Connor for Kerrigan, 66.
UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK: R. Byrne (Mayo), E. Kiley, (Kerry), M. Tierney (Kerry), C. Lowry (Offaly), D. Dolan (Mayo), T. Clancy (Cork), L.
Mulligan (Kerry), P. McHugh (Leitrim), E. Hogan (Galway), P. White (Waterford), D. Daly (Kerry), J. Spillane (Kerry), B.O’Shea (Kerry), J. O’Donoghue (Kerry), J. O’Rourke (Cork).
Subs: J. O’Meara (Limerick) for Mulligan (black card), 5; M. Galvin (Kerry) for Tierney, 15; C. O’Brien (Clare) for Lowry, 41; TJ Ryan (Tipperary) for O’Shea, 55; A. Barry (Kerry) for Spillane, 60; B.
Sheehan (Cork) for Dolan, 65.
Referee: R. Hickey (Clare).