Few problems for Cork against Offaly

Cork 1-22 Offaly 1-11

Cork 1-22 Offaly 1-11

Cork opened their National League campaign with a satisfying win, as Offaly gave way at Pairc Ui Chaoimh this afternoon.

Denis Walsh’s men pushed clear in the second half, with Pat Horgan (0-9), John Gardiner (0-5) and new captain Kieran Murphy from Sarsfields (0-4) leading the way.

The sides were level six times in the opening half, with three late frees from Offaly’s scorer-in-chief Shane Dooley making it 0-9 apiece.

Dooley and Aisake O hAilpin swapped goals in the second period but Cork proved too strong.

Offaly took the lead in the second minute through Brian Carroll and maintained their early advantage thanks to two long range frees from the impressive Dooley.

Pat Horgan got Cork off the mark by converting two frees and the Glen Rovers clubman continued to impress - notching two scores from play - and Niall McCarthy also pointed as the Rebels moved 0-7 to 0-5 clear.

Cork maintained that two-point gap, with John Gardiner, who combined well in midfield with Tom Kenny, and Kieran Murphy (Sarsfields) adding points, before Dooley completed the scoring before the break with three well-struck frees. One of Gardiner's frees was a monster score from just inside his own half.

Offaly's nine-point interval tally also included efforts from Cathal Parlon and Conor Mahon, who sustained a head injury but was able to continue.

Cork boss Walsh kept his players in the dressing room for a few extra minutes at half-time and they kicked on when the match resumed, moving 0-15 to 0-10 clear by the 51st minute.

Dual player Eoin Cadogan was introduced for David Cunningham at full-back, and the Rebels pressed on in attack with scores from Horgan, debutant Mark O'Sullivan and McCarthy again.

Free-taker Dooley hit his seventh point for the Faithfuls and a 57th minute goal off the ground from the Tullamore youngster, following a poor clearance by Cork goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack, got his side back in touch at 0-15 to 1-10.

But any hopes of a comeback win were quickly dashed. A long 61st minute delivery from Gardiner caused problems for the Offaly defence and full-forward Aisake O hAilpin managed to hook the ball past goalkeeper Eoin Kelly for the hosts' only goal.

With the result beyond doubt, Cork hit overdrive in the closing ten minutes. Horgan and Murphy added to their tallies and former footballer Michael Cussen, who made his NHL debut as a late substitute, also split the posts.

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