Cork through to semis in dull encounter

Cork 1-11 Sligo 0-8

Cork 1-11 Sligo 0-8

Cork have won through to the All-Ireland's last-four after seeing off a disappointing Sligo side in the first of today's All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals at Croke Park.

Billy Morgan's Rebels did enough to warrant the win, however they never transferred their dominance to the scoreboard.

Cork led 1-3 to 0-2 at half-time with John Miskella finding the net in the 16th-minute.

Former All-Star Eamonn O'Hara tried valiantly to inspire the Connacht champions in what was a lacklustre game.

Yet Sligo's wides tally of nine really counted against them and Cork were comfortable winners as they maintained their 100% record in All-Ireland quarter-finals - they were also victorious in 2002, 2005 and 2006.

The counties' second ever championship clash was delayed by 30 minutes due to the extra-time required in the Tommy Murphy Cup final and it took time for both sides to settle.

Sligo, who were unchanged from the Connacht final, missed the game's first chance as Brian Curran flashed a shot wide of the uprights. But they were soon off the mark as returning Cork goalkeeper Alan Quirke smothered a Curran shot out for a '45' and John McPartland was on hand to fist the resulting kick over the bar.

Cork, heavy favourites for the win, struck some poor wides in the opening stages with team captain Derek Kavanagh, Pearse O'Neill and Anthony Lynch all missing the target.

James Masters, the championship's top scorer before this weekend, opened Cork's account in the 10th-minute when he rasped over off his right.

Masters tagged on his and Cork's second point, after a glaring miss from McPartland at the other end, and a route one ball then produced the killer goal for the Munster finalists.

Giant full-forward Michael Cussen knocked a high ball down into the path of Miskella and the rampaging right half-forward picked his spot for a smart finish to the far right corner of Philip Greene's net.

That strike made it 1-2 to 0-1 in Cork's favour and they maintained that advantage up to the break with midfielder Nicholas Murphy, who deservedly claimed the man of the match award, putting in a superb display of high fielding.

A barren spell followed with neither side able to hit the heights of their respective provincial finals with the game making for a poor spectacle.

Sligo, despite bossing the possession, were left with a five-point deficit to overhaul when Kevin McMahon landed Cork's third point but Sean Davey, set up by O'Hara, doubled the Yeats men's tally just before the break to give them some hope.

Cork stretched into a seven-point lead when O'Neill and Donnacha O'Connor (0-2) both fired over as Morgan's men tried to kill the game off in the opening minutes of the second half.

A Mark Breheny point was erased by a fisted effort from Masters but Sligo did manage to gain some momentum when O'Hara and Sean Davey pinged over successive points.

Breheny's second point of the afternoon convinced many in the 52,049-strong crowd that Sligo were right back in the game at only four points down.

However Cork were quick to respond as O'Connor floated over a free and Masters did likewise. Breheny replied but it was goals that Sligo craved and they never looked like scoring a much-needed major.

The final whistle could not come quick enough for both sides who struck 20 wides between them. Cork substitutes Conor McCarthy and Kevin O'Sullivan notched a point apiece in the closing five minutes while Sligo's only response, and the last action of this forgettable tie, was a Philip Gallagher over.

CORK: A Quirke; M Shields, G Canty, K O'Connor; N O'Leary, G Spillane, A Lynch; D Kavanagh (capt), N Murphy; J Miskella (1-0), P O'Neill (0-1), K McMahon (0-1); J Masters (0-4, 0-2f), M Cussen, D O'Connor (0-3, 0-2f).

Subs used: C McCarthy (0-1) for Miskella, F Goold for McMahon, K O'Sullivan (0-1) for Masters, B Collins for Murphy

SLIGO: P Greene; C Harrison, N McGuire (capt), R Donovan; P McGovern, M McNamara, J Davey; E O'Hara (0-1), K Quinn; B Curran, M Breheny (0-3, 0-1f), B Egan; D Kelly, S Davey (0-2), J McPartland (0-1).

Subs used: K Sweeney for McPartland, P Doohan for Curran, G Magowan for S Davey, P Gallagher (0-1) for J Davey

Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan)

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