Cork maintain winning start

Cork 1-19 Galway 1-17

Cork 1-19 Galway 1-17

NFL Division 1

Cork maintained their 100% start to the Allianz National Football League, staving off a determined fightback by Galway under the Pairc Ui Rinn floodlights.

A well-taken goal by Pearse O'Neill helped the Rebels go in at the break with a 1-10 to 0-6 advantage, as Galway tried to recover from the early loss of hamstring injury victim Sean Armstrong.

Joe Kernan's men regrouped at half-time and put in a much-improved display in the second half, despite falling nine points down initially.

The Tribesmen got back in touch with points from key forwards Michael Meehan and Nicky Joyce, and a goal from Gary Sice whittled Cork's lead down to four.

Points from Donncha O'Connor and Paddy Kelly gave the hosts some breathing space but Galway hit the game's final three points and Danny Cummins missed a glorious chance to nab an injury-time goal, as Cork hung on for their third win in Division 1.

By the midpoint of the first half, Cork had cruised into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead and they showed their intent in the fourth minute when defender Paudie Kissane raided forward to land the opening points.

Galway briefly edged ahead through Nicky Joyce and Armstrong, but the latter's injury meant the visitors had to reorganise and Cork were soon on top as their forwards grew into the game.

They hit four points in quick succession, with O'Connor impressively scoring off boot feet. Galway replied through the ever ready Meehan who had a fisted goal effort saved by Cork newcomer Ken O'Halloran.

Paul Kerrigan added his name to the scoresheet and on the half-hour mark, the strong-running O'Neill cracked home a superb opening goal.

In the best move of the half, Alan O'Connor swung a long delivery into the Cork full-forward line, Colm O'Neill gathered and swiftly passed for the onrushing O'Neill to take it on at pace and blast a sweet finish high into the visitors' net.

Galway's response was a strong one as Joyce converted two placed balls, but O'Connor's third point of a fast-paced encounter and a final score from O'Neill put seven points between the sides at half-time.

Cork were almost through for a second goal, just moments after the resumption, but having been set up by O'Neill, late call-up Paul O'Flynn flung his effort over.

Galway were nine points behind when the impressive O'Neill added the Cork's tally, but Joyce inspired their revival - hitting three of his side's next four points.

Daniel Goulding, Cork's scoring hero against Kerry, grabbed two points in reply, but Joyce and Meehan were able to keep Galway ticking with scores.

In a free-scoring finale, Cork hit three on the bounce before Galway notched their goal. Meehan watched his fisted shot hit the post and Sice was well-placed to stab the loose ball to the net. With Cillian de Paor firing over, Cork's lead was suddenly down to three points.

Crucially, and before they had substitute John Hayes dismissed for a second bookable offence - a late tackle - Cork hit back with points from O'Connor and Kelly.

It was enough of a buffer for Conor Counihan's to take the win. Meehan and David Reilly closed the gap back to three again, in injury-time, before Cummins shot over the bar from a tight angle as Galway's last-gasp goal hunt came to nothing.

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