Yesterday was another to add to the list, though this time O’Donnell stood on the sunny side of a landslide. His Roscommon charges had a remarkable 18 points to spare over their hosts come the final whistle. Indeed, twice in the second-half their advantage stretched to 20 points.
A total of 25 of their 29 scores arrived from open play, including their entire first-half tally of 2-13. Three of their defence etched their names onto the scoresheet, while every member of the starting front six and midfield were on the mark by the 57th minute. This was an afternoon when the Rossies could do no wrong.
“We got a fair few trimmings in our day, playing and managing, unfortunately, but on a winning margin against a top team, I don’t ever remember one,” reflected the Roscommon joint-manager.
This latest turn up for the books puts many people’s relegation favourites within a victory of survival. And if they continue to employ the sweeping brand of football that reduced household Cork names to rubble, you’d be foolish to bet against them.
“You have to enjoy your successes because they don’t come often and, for a lot of the Roscommon players, you wouldn’t always be playing top teams,” continued O’Donnell. “To have four points after three games, and beat Cork and Kerry, is brilliant for the confidence of the lads.”
For Cork, the outlook can’t be as bleak as it looked here, but this was ominous.
Their defence was ripped open time and time again by Fintan Cregg, Conor Devaney, Ciaran Murtagh, Enda Smith and Ian Kilbride, the latter pair destroying Cork at midfield. The decision to swap corner-back Colm O’Driscoll and centre-back Michael Shields early in the opening period backfired as the visitors stormed through the centre of the opposition rearguard at every turn.
And when they opted to go route one into Senan Kilbride, the full-forward had the beating of Eoin Cadogan. Mind you, Cadogan certainly wasn’t alone in struggling to tie down his opposite number; not one Cork defender came even close to shading an individual battle.
The kick-outs, too, were a major problem as the Cork half-back line and midfield were cleaned out when contesting Ken O’Halloran’s restarts.
“I just feel leaving the pitch there that there’s an awful lot of work to be done. It’s unacceptable,” said Cork boss Peadar Healy.
“We the management need to find answers and find answers fairly fast.”
Ahead by 0-5 to 0-2 after 12 minutes, the underdogs were momentarily reeled in following a well-worked Cork goal punched to the net by Peter Kelleher on 13 minutes. Full-back Neil Collins popped up at the other end to return Roscommon in front and daylight was established when Senan Kilbride rattled the Cork net on 15 minutes.
Devaney (0-2), Senan Kilbride and Enda Smith kicked four of the contest’s next six scores and despite a Daniel Goulding free and Luke Connolly minor cutting the deficit to 1-10 to 1-6, a further Roscommon burst yielding an unanswered 1-3 had the westerners in pole position at the break.
Cathal Cregg, set up by rampant midfield duo Smith and Ian Kilbride, kicked their second major after 32 minutes.
2-13 to 1-7 at the break.
The expectation was that Healy’s troops would summon some semblance of a response in the second-half. Instead, Murtagh, put through by the excellent Cian Connolly, drilled a low shot beyond Ken O’Halloran for goal number three on 38 minutes.
Cork did reply with a second Peter Kelleher major, but instead of igniting a revival, it was their last score for a quarter of an hour. Roscommon tallied an unanswered 1-6 in the interim to open up a 4-21 to 2-7 gap, Murtagh raising their fourth green flag on 53 minutes – Fintan Cregg and Devaney again involved.
Luke Connolly bagged a late consolation goal, but there was hardly a single positive to be drawn by the home outfit who are without a win since the opening day victory over Mayo.
Next up: Dublin in Croke Park.
C Murtagh (2-3, 1 free); C Cregg (1-2); F Cregg (0-5, 2 frees); S Kilbride (1-1); C Devaney (0-4); C Connolly (0-3, 1 free); E Smith (0-2); N Collins, N Daly, D Murray, C Shine, I Kilbride (0-1 each).
P Kelleher (2-0); L Connolly (1-3, 1 ‘45); D Goulding (0-4, 3 frees); C O’Neill (0-1 free), B Hurley, P Kerrigan (0-1 each).
K O’Halloran; C O’Driscoll, E Cadogan, J Loughrey; T Clancy, M Shields, B O’Driscoll; A O’Sullivan, I Maguire; M Collins, P Kerrigan, L Connolly; D Goulding, P Kelleher, B Hurley.
S Kiely for O’Sullivan, K Crowley for Shields (both HT); R Deane for Collins, J O’Sullivan for Loughrey (both 45 mins); C O’Neill for Goulding (50), D MacEoin for Hurley (65).
G Claffey; S McDermott, N Collins, N McInerney; S Purcell, D Murray, N Daly; E Smith, I Kilbride; F Cregg, C Murtagh, C Devaney; C Connolly, S Kilbride, C Cregg.
C Daly for N Daly (Blood sub, 26); R Daly for C Cregg (54); R Stack for Purcell (58); J McManus for Murray (59); C Shine for F Cregg (60); C McHugh for Murtagh (62); B Murtagh for J McManus (64, Blood sub).
D Coldrick (Meath).