Debut goal for Murphy helps Rebels to victory

Cork 1-21 Offaly 1-14

Cork 1-21 Offaly 1-14

Eoghan Murphy scored a goal on his senior debut for Cork as the Rebels notched a 1-21 to 1-14 win over Offaly in Gerald McCarthy's first National League game in charge.

At Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Erin's Own starlet Murphy netted on 19 minutes to set Cork on their way against a youthful Offaly side that included seven newcomers.

Murphy's brother Kieran, the new Cork captain, struck three points from midfield, while Timmy McCarthy and Joe Deane also scored as the hosts led 1-10 to 0-6 at half-time.

With Joe Bergin slamming over seven placed-balls and Derek Molloy cracking home Offaly's goal, the Faithfuls mounted a second half fight-back but Cork were just too good.

Overcoming a sluggish start, during which Bergin and Cathal Parlon both fired over points, Cork set about their task with Kieran Murphy (0-2), Timmy McCarthy and Tom Kenny all hitting the target.

Bishopstown's Patrick Cronin looked a very good addition to the Cork half-forwards on his debut, fetching well on Donal Og Cusack's puck-outs and linking well with his more illustrious team-mates.

Murphy's goal, which he rasped past stand-in 'keeper Shane O'Connor, should have seen McCarthy's charges push on but with Bergin in unerring form, the Faithfuls stayed in touch.

The biggest cheer of the afternoon came when the fit-again Deane batted over the first of his three points, while Niall McCarthy also pointed twice in the opening 35 minutes.

Roused into action by John McIntyre's half-time words, Offaly flew out of the traps for the second period with Shane Dooley, the son of 1998 All-Star Joe Dooley, and Gary Hanniffy registering points.

The half was only five minutes' old when Shamrocks clubman Molloy flashed a powerful shot past Cusack and into the Cork net.

The gap was suddenly down to two points but Deane popped up at the other end with a relieving point for the Rebels, whose last league title was back in 1998.

Neil Ronan, continuing the form he showed in last month's Waterford Crystal Cup, came off the bench to add further to Cork's cushion - he rammed over four points, with skipper Murphy hitting the same tally.

Deane, Tom Kenny, who was the best midfielder on show, and Niall McCarthy all finished with 0-3 apiece as Cork did just enough to fend off a young and inexperienced Offaly side that showed plenty of promise for the future.

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