Cork breeze past Waterford

Cork 2-18 Waterford 1-07

Cork 2-18 Waterford 1-07

Cork set up a Munster SFC semi-final showdown with arch rivals Kerry as Donnacha O'Connor shot 1-05 in Dungarvan this afternoon.

The reigning Munster and NFL Division 2 champions had too much power for a gallant Waterford side that netted through a close range free from Shane Walsh.

Wind-backed Cork led by 1-10 to 0-03 at half-time, with O'Connor linking with debutant Paul O'Flynn for his 11th minute goal.

Paul Kerrigan crowned his first SFC start with a 'soccer style' goal, sending the Rebel fans in the 3,504 attendance home happy.

Cork were very heavy favourites to progress from this quarter-final encounter - rated 1/500 to win by some bookmakers - and while they took a while to warm to the task, Conor Counihan's men were soon in the ascendancy.

Waterford had dual players Shane Walsh and Gary Hurney back in their starting line-up and they ensured there was little between the sides in the opening exchanges.

But once the Rebels adjusted to the conditions, which were sunny but with a strong wind behind them, the scores began to follow.

Brian Wall knocked over a free to put the Deise in front but O'Connor was quick to reply and Championship newcomer O'Flynn then pointed from play.

A slick passing move ended with O'Flynn flinging the ball across for the inrishing O'Connor to direct it beyond the reach of goalkeeper Tom Wall and Cork were beginning to simmer.

Wall and O'Connor exchanged frees, with the Corkman using the wind to good effect. Still, by the midpoint of the half, the pre-match favourites were only ahead by 1-03 to 0-02.

They put on a spurt in the ensuing minutes with two long range points from James Masters, another from Daniel Goulding and two well-executed efforts from defenders John Miskella and Michael Shields.

The Cork defence was rock solid, with goalkeeper Alan Quirke doing well to deny Hurney before the break.

Waterford added two more points to their tally before the half-time whistle. Wall and Sean O'Hare were both on target, but O'Connor was the man grabbing the headlines with 1-04 of Cork's 1-10 first half total.

The intensity dropped on the resumption courtesy of 13 scoreless minutes, save for a fifth point of the day for Ballydesmond clubman O'Connor.

Cork registered their second goal on 50 minutes when Kerrigan sidefooted the ball to the net after Masters had played a high ball in.

Wayne Hennessy, a tireless worker in defence for Waterford and arguably their best player, raided forward for a well-deserved point.

And Waterford had more joy when Walsh planted a 20-metre free past Quirke and into the back of the Cork net for the hosts' only goal.

A Deise comeback never looked on the cards and two late points from substitute Colm O'Neill, the captain of Cork's 2009 All-Ireland-winning side and recently-announced Cadbury Hero of the Future, pushed the winning margin out to 14 points.

So a satisfying first day out in the 2009 Championship for Cork, but Counihan and his players know full well that improvements will be needed if they are to retain their Munster title and make it a summer to remember.

CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, A Lynch; J Miskella, G Canty, G Spillane; A O’Connor, N Murphy; P O’Flynn, P O’Neill, P Kerrigan; D Goulding, J Masters, D O’Connor.

Subs used: F Goold for A O’Connor (35 mins)

WATERFORD: T Wall; S Briggs, T O’Gorman, E Rockett; W Hennessy, M O’Gorman, T Grey; S O’Hare, S Walsh; G Power, G Hurney, B Wall; L Lawlor, L Ó Lionnáin, P Hurney.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

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