Rebels fend off Rossies’ challenge

All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final

All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final

Cork 1-16 Roscommon 0-10

Cork are into the semi-finals of the GAA All-Ireland Football Senior Championship for the sixth year in a row after eventually getting the better of Roscommon at Croke Park today.

At times, the Rebels struggled to assert their superiority over the Connacht champions, and even fell behind early in the second half before eventually coming good.

Question marks will remain ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin however, as a big improvement in all-round performance will be needed if they are to go any further.

Despite having the bulk of the possession in the first half, Cork only led by a point at half-time, 0-7 to 0-6.

Too often their play was laboured as they attempted to pass the ball out of defence, and their decision-making with shots was letting them down. Daniel Goulding helped them get off to a good start as they led by 0-3 to 0-1 inside the opening 10 minutes, but Roscommon began to close them down well in defence thereafter.

The Connacht side were also getting the upper hand at midfield, not letting Cork get enough primary possession from their own kickouts, but their tactics rarely varied from getting the ball to full-forward Donal Shine.

This paid off a lot, as he scored three points but was wasteful on other occasions and not enough of the other forwards were showing for them as Ciarán Sheehan made it 0-6 to 0-2 for Cork on 26 minutes.

Surprisingly though that was Cork’s last score of the opening period as points by John Rogers and Shine (two) cut the gap to just one as half-time approached, though goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey did have to save well from Pearse O’Neill four minutes before the break.

Cork made three changes for the second half as John Miskella, Nicholas Murphy and Donncha O’Connor were all introduced and this paid dividends immediately, O’Connor setting up O’Neill for a point from the throw-in, while the alterations also seemed to give the Rebels a more natural balance.

On 40 though, Ger Heneghan had a great chance to put the Rossies in the lead when his good run put him in but Alan Quirke tipped his shot over the bar, however subsequent points from midfielders Karol Mannion and Michael Finneran did put Fergal O’Donnell’s in front for the first time.

That lead only lasted for a minute as Sheehan equalised for Cork and Goulding put them ahead again, sending over a point off his weaker right after good work by Patrick Kelly.

Murphy’s introduction at midfield was a huge boost for Cork and O’Connor extended the lead following a quick Goulding free before Pearse O’Neill scored the best point of the game up to then, rounding off a fine team move to make it 0-11 to 0-8.

With Roscommon having gone flat, Cork were once again allowed to find their rhythm, Paul Kerrigan with a nice point and though a Shine free cancelled that out, Cork captain Graham Canty fisted over when played in by Goulding on 56, though a goal was on.

It proved to be the skipper’s last action however as he was forced to leave with a hamstring injury, but Cork still retained the upper hand and twice should have had a goal.

First, Daniel Goulding was unlucky to have been adjudged to have picked off the ground when he seemed to be fouled in the large square and, after he added another point, Paudie Kissane should have played Paul Kerrigan in but misjudged the handpass.

Shine’s frees were keeping Roscommon in touch, but six minutes from time Cork finally scored the goal, sub Alan O’Connor’s pass releasing Pearse O’Neill in space and he made no mistake to fire past Claffey.

Conor Counihan’s side could have had another with time running out as they were awarded a penalty following a foot-block on Daniel Goulding – despite him converting the rebound – but Donncha O’Connor opted to send the spot kick over, and Cork played out time to win comfortably.

CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, J O’Sullivan; N O’Leary, G Canty (0-1), P Kissane; D Kavanagh, A Walsh; P Kelly, P O’Neill (1-2), P Kerrigan (0-2); D Goulding (0-6, 0-2f, 0-1 45), C Sheehan (0-2), C O’Neill.

Subs: J Miskella for O’Sullivan, N Murphy for Walsh, D O’Connor (0-3, 0-1 penalty) for C O’Neill (all half-time), A O’Connor for Kavanagh (52), E Cotter for Canty (58, injured)

ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; S McDermott, P Domican, S Ormsby; S Purcell, C Dineen, D Casey; M Finneran (0-1), K Mannion (0-1); D Keenan, D O’Gara (0-1), C Cregg; J Rogers (0-1), D Shine (0-5, 0-3f), G Heneghan (0-1).

Subs: C Garvey for Purcell (48), K Higgins for Rogers (52), E Kenny for Mannion (54), J Dunning for Cregg (62), J Nolan for Nolan (66)

Referee: J McKee (Armagh).

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