An excellent second-half performance from Cork gave them a second Allianz Football League Division 1 win as Kildare were beaten at Páirc Uí Rinn today.
Having laboured at times in the first half, trailing by three points at one stage, Cork cut the gap to the minimum by half-time and then began the second half well to lay the foundations for victory.
Cork enjoyed a brilliant start to the first half too, as Mark Collins and John O’Rourke had them two points to the good inside two minutes, but once Kildare settled they were the better side for much of the opening period.
Despite Tom Clancy and Conor Dorman acquitting themselves well in the Cork full-back line, Kildare were still able to get some joy and their long-range shooting was of a very high quality, with Séan Hurley, Cathal McNally and Darroch Mulhall acll kicking good points.
O’Rourke was the liveliest of the attackers for Cork, who had three excellent goalscoring chances in the first half. First, captain James Loughrey fired a low shot across goal after Collins and Donncha O’Connor had set him up; then, O’Rourke blazed wide after Daniel Goulding had played him in, and finally O’Connor had to be content with a point after he created an opening for himself with a mazy run.
That score did at least cut the Cork deficit to two points, 0-8 to 0-6, after McNally’s point for Kildare had opened up the biggest lead of the game up to that point. O’Connor ensured that just the minimum separated the sides at half-time as he added another in the 34th minute.
Despite the heavily falling sleet, Cork enjoyed a purple period at the start of the second half. Donal Óg Hodnett, Brian Hurley and O’Rourke were all on target as they put themselves back in front for the first time since very early in the game. In the 49th minute, Goulding had Cork’s fourth good goal chance when Hurley picked him out well, but he shot over to make it 0-13 to 0-11 before Collins’ second point gave them breathing space.
That lead could have been eradicated had McNally done better after Tomás O’Connor picked him out but Cork goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran, untested for much of the game, spread himself well.
Kildare lost their shape after that as a raft of changes meant that their attack could not function as well as it had. Cork were in the groove by now and Collins and sub Cathal Vaughan has late points as they pushed four ahead, meaning that McNally’s goal right at the end was just a Kildare consolation.
J O’Rourke 0-3, M Collins, D Goulding (0-1f), D O’Connor, D Óg Hodnett, B Hurley, C Vaughan (0-1f) 0-2 each, J Loughrey 0-1.
C McNally 1-2, D Mulhall 0-4 (0-1f), E O’Flaherty 0-2 (0-1f), K Murnaghan, P Brophy, S Hurley, T O’Connor 0-1 each.
K O’Halloran; J McLoughlin, C Dorman, T Clancy; B O’Driscoll, F Goold, J Loughrey; A O’Sullivan, R Deane; M Collins, D O’Connor, J O’Rourke; D Goulding, B Hurley, D Óg Hodnett.
A Cronin for McLoughlin (21), N Galvin for Clancy (35, injured), C O’Driscoll for O’Sullivan (54), J Hayes for Goulding (59), C Vaughan for O’Connor (65), K O’Driscoll for B O’Driscoll (70).
M Donnellan; M O’Grady, K Murnaghan, M Foley; E Bolton, F Conway, P Cribbin; T Moolick, G White; S Hurley, E O’Flaherty, C McNally; P Brophy, T O’Connor, D Mulhall.
D Hyland for Bolton (half-time, injured), H McGrillen for F Conway (44), S Gately for Hurley (56), F Dowling for Mulhall (59, injured), P O’Neill for White (64), M Conway for O’Flaherty (68).
E Kinsella (Laois).