Allianz Football League Division 1: Cork 4-11 Down 0-10
Three goals from Patrick Kelly helped Cork to their first Allianz Football League Division 1 win of the year as they saw off Down by 13 points at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
While it was not a vintage performance from the 2010 All-Ireland champions, they did more than enough to get past the Mourne Men, who scored the game’s first three points but never led after being pegged back, two Kelly goals and a Donncha O’Connor penalty ensuring that Cork led by 3-5 to 0-5 at half-time.
By that stage, the destination of the two points was more or less decided and in the second half, with the tempo of the game having dropped considerably, the hosts ensured that they saw the game out safely.
Aside from Kelly, midfielder Alan O’Connor put in a fine shift while Michael Shields once more did a fine man-marking job on Benny Coulter, meaning that the visitors’ attack lacked a focal point.
While three Aidan Carr points, two frees, put them into an early lead, Donncha O’Connor and Mark Collins got Cork into the game before Shields levelled with a long-range effort and then Kelly profited after Donncha O’Connor broke a Barry O’Driscoll delivery, the wing-forward side-stepping goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh before calmly finishing.
After a fine O’Driscoll point, Kelly struck for his second goal in the 28th minute after Down defender Owen Costello played a pass straight to Pearse O’Neill, who fed Kelly. Conor Laverty and Aidan Branigan ended 23 scoreless minutes for Down, but a Fintan Goold point and O’Connor’s penalty, awarded after Mark Collins was brought down by Liam Doyle, meant that nine points separated the sides at the break.
The teams traded points early in the second half, but if there were any doubts about the outcome they were ended in the 48th minute as Donncha O’Connor kept a Goold 45 in play and Kelly pounced for a soccer-style volley to the net.
Cork continued to add points at will, Pearse O’Neill, O’Driscoll and Donncha O’Connor all scoring late on, meaning that points from Carr and Doyle in the dying minutes were of little material value.
Scorers – Cork: P Kelly 3-0, D O’Connor 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), B O’Driscoll 0-2, M Shields, A O’Connor, P O’Neill, F Goold, M Collins 0-1 each.
Down: A Carr 0-5 (0-4f), L Doyle 0-2f, A Branigan, D Gordon, C Laverty 0-1 each.
CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, E Cadogan, M Shields; G Canty, P Kissane, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, P O’Neill; F Goold, M Collins, P Kelly; B O’Driscoll, D O’Connor, F Lynch.
Subs: P Kerrigan for Lynch (25), E Cotter for Cadogan (half-time), S Kiely for O’Leary (54), L Shorten for Goold, N Murphy for A O’Connor (both 65).
DOWN: B McVeigh; D Turley, D McCartan, O Costello; G McCartan, L Doyle, K Quinn; P Turley, D Gordon; D Hughes, A Carr, A Branigan; B Coulter, C Laverty, M Poland.
Subs: C Garvey for D McCartan (32), C Maginn for Poland (half-time), K McKernan for G McCartan, A McArdle for P Turley (both 42), B McArdle for Costello (52), G McCartan for Brangian (69, blood).
Referee: R Hickey (Clare).