Limerick 1-14 Cork 2-21
Cork secured their second successive win in Allianz NHL Division 1, getting the better of Limerick by ten points at the Gaelic Grounds tonight.
Cork target man Michael Cussen crowned his first league start with a third minute goal and went on to score 1-5 in an eye-catching display.
Nicky Quaid opened Limerick's account but they hit eight first half wides and trailed by 1-10 to 0-7 at half-time.
Substitute Thomas O'Brien netted for Limerick in the second period, but a subsequent goal from Cork's Cian McCarthy sealed the result.
Limerick manager Justin McCarthy, who watched his young and inexperienced side lose to Galway in their league opener, made one enforced change for tonight’s game – bringing Ahane’s Mike Carr in at left half-back for Cathal King who is out of the country this weekend.
Cork boss Denis Walsh tested his squad depth by making seven changes, including call-ups for goalkeeper Martin Coleman, dual player Eoin Cadogan and wing forwards Fintan O’Leary and Graham Calnan.
Dual player Cussen, another new starter, was a constant threat to a Limerick side that again showed heart and enthusiasm but they were well outplayed in the end.
Cussen struck Cork’s opening goal with only his second touch of the game and while Quaid got Limerick off the mark, the hosts were 1-5 to 0-3 behind after 20 minutes.
McCarthy also lost the services of impressive league debutant Carr to injury, eight minutes later. With Tom Kenny and John Gardiner excelling around centre-field, the Rebels pushed on and they were six points ahead at the break.
Limerick corner forward Alan O’Connor opened the second half with a point, but Cork hit the next five scores without reply as they cantered clear.
The home side gave themselves some hope when substitute O’Brien wriggled through for a well-taken goal, cutting the gap back to six.
O’Brien from the Patrickswell club, who scored 1-2, is a hugely promising player and the manner in which he took his goal, within seconds of his arrival on the pitch, indicates a bright future for him.
However, McCarthy’s men had no answer when McCarthy picked off Cork’s second goal and with free-taker Patrick Horgan taking his tally to 0-6, the winning margin was double figures by the finish.
This ten-point defeat is sure to spark renewed calls for a new Limerick management which would pave the way for a return to the squad of a number of those dropped by McCarthy and others who walked away in protest.
The next meeting of Limerick County Board is planned for Tuesday week.
Tonight, Cork simply had far too much experience and the likes of Gardiner, Kenny and Shane O’Neill plus Cussen, Horgan and Mark O’Sullivan always had Limerick battling against the odds.
Limerick’s Lorcan O’Dwyer, Quaid and Paul Browne all did well but a long and difficult road lies ahead for the Shannonsiders.
Scorers – Limerick: A O’Connor 0-4 (0-4f), T O’Brien 1-2, N Quaid, P Browne, B O’Sullivan 0-2 each, P McNamara, G Mulcahy 0-1 each
Cork: M Cussen 1-5, P Horgan 0-6 (0-4f), C McCarthy 1-1, J Gardiner 0-4 (0-2 ‘65s, 0-1f), K Murphy 0-2, M O’Sullivan, G Calnan, N McCarthy 0-1 each
LIMERICK: T Flynn; D Lynch, D Kenny, S O’Neill; L O’Dwyer, A Brennan, M Carr; N Quaid, P Browne; B O’Sullivan (capt), A Owens, C Mullane; G Mulcahy, P McNamara, A O’Connor.
Subs used: M Deegan for Carr (28 mins), T O’Brien (Patrickswell) for Owens (42), P Harty for Brennan (48), C Hynes for Kenny (50), D Moore for O’Connor (60).
CORK: M Coleman; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, C O’Sullivan; B Murphy, R Curran, R Ryan; J Gardiner, T Kenny; F O’Leary, M O’Sullivan, G Calnan; K Murphy (capt), M Cussen, P Horgan.
Subs used: C McCarthy for O’Leary (50 mins), A O hAilpin for O’Sullivan (56), N McCarthy for Calnan (62), M Walsh for Gardiner (65), A Ryan for O’Neill (66).
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)