Cork 0-21 Sligo 1-11
Cork endured some uncomfortable moments in the second half, but ultimately did enough to dispatch a disappointing Sligo at O’Connor Park today.
The Rebels can now look forward to a quarter-final clash with Mayo.
After giving Kerry’s forwards the run of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the Munster final, Brian Cuthbert clearly decided that he would need to employ a more defensive system if his men were to make any impact in the remainder of the championship.
Cork played with Colm O’Driscoll as a permanent sweeper, while Mark Collins also dropped deep when Sligo had possession.
That gave Sligo a couple of spare men in defence while James Kilcullen and Pat Hughes also buttressed their efforts around midfield.
As a result, Cork’s build-up was slower and less direct than has been the case until now but with the wind at their backs they were able to open up an eight-point lead by half time, 0-10 to 0-2.
Sligo got to within four points of the Rebels with 15 minutes remaining after Stephen Coen goaled but Cork finished strongly to win by seven points.
Sligo got the opening score of the game in the third minute, but it took them another 24 minutes to kick their second score from an Adrian Marren free and by that stage, Cork had eight points on the board.
Colm O’Neill got them off the mark and Paul Kerrigan added three points as Sligo struggled to cope with his speed on the break.
O’Neill brought his tally to four by the change of ends and with Donal Óg Hodnett and Brian Hurley also on the mark, the foundation was laid for an easy victory.
Cork had three points in a matter of minutes after the resumption to kill off any hope that the elements might spark a Sligo comeback.
O’Neill had two of those, with the second coming off his right after a delightful kick pass by Kerrigan.
It looked like curtains at that juncture, as Cork led by 11 points but Charlier Harrison stopped the rot and then Adrian Marren used the wind to very good effect to kick three points.
Coen capitalised on the hesitancy of Cork goalkeeper, Ken O’Halloran to fist to the net in the 52nd minute, and though the excellent O’Neill landed a free soon after, Sligo hit back with points from Marren and a 45m free by Mark Breheny to make 0-16 to 1-9.
Cuthbert utilised his bench fully in the final quarter and Fintan Goold in particular had a significant impact as the Leesiders finished strongly with five of the last six points.
O’Neill kicked two of those to bring his tally for the night to 10, with six of those coming from play.
Kerrigan contributed handsomely to the win with a fine all-round performance and he brought his count to five points from play, while Aidan Walsh and substitute Damian Cahalane also raised white flags to cement their team’s place in the final eight.
Scorers: – CORK: C O’Neill 0-10(3fs, 1 45); P Kerrigan 0-5; A Walsh 0-2(1f); I Maguire, B Hurley (f), D Óg Hodnett, D Cahalane 0-1 each.
SLIGO: A Marren 0-6(5fs); M Breheny 0-3(2fs); S Coen 1-0; C Harrison 0-1
CORK: K O’Halloran, J Loughrey, E Cadogan, N Galvin, B O’Driscoll, Tomas Clancy, M Shields, I Maguire, A Walsh, M Collins, P Kerrigan, C O’Driscoll, B Hurley, C O’Neill, D Óg Hodnett.
Subs: F Goold for Maguire (46), D Cahalane for Clancy (53), D Goulding for Hodnett (58), J O’Rourke for C O’Driscoll (62), Tomás Clancy for B O’Driscoll (67), J Dineen for Walsh (70).
SLIGO: A Devaney, K Cawley, R Donovan, N Ewing, C Harrison, B Egan, B Curran, A McIntyre, K McDonnell, P Hughes, M Breheny, J Kilcullen, S Coen, A Marren, D Kelly.
Subs: J Hynes for Kelly (43), S McManus for Kilcullen (65), C Griffin for Coen (70)