Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy was pleased another Waterford Crystal Cup game had been secured but wasn’t reading too much else into Saturday’s win over Cork IT.
With six minutes of normal time remaining, the hosts – technically it was a Cork home game, though played at the CIT Sports Stadium – had drawn to within a point, 2-11 to 1-13, but the Munster champions turned the screw from there.
They reeled off an unanswered 2-4, sub Daniel Kearney giving them breathing space before Darren McCarthy got his second goal with what was the match’s best-worked move.
The Rebels will meet Clare in the last four, though Barry-Murphy is keen to take the competition as a workout and little more.
“As I said last week, it’s a pre-season tournament and that’s what we’re using it as,” he said. “It’s nothing other than that, really It was a good workout for the lads and we were lucky with the day because the weather had been bad all week, the pitch was very good, in fairness to CIT.
“We’re just pleased with how the lads are going forward.”
In crisp and clear conditions, Cork settled well, McCarthy twice going close with goal attempts before Stephen Moylan goaled in the 16th minute, flicking to the net after Paudie O’Sullivan’s free dropped. When O’Sullivan showed nice stickwork to add a point straight after, Cork were cruising, leading by 1-5 to 0-3.
Foreshadowing later events, though, CIT produced a spirited response and actually led for what would be the only time in the game. Kevin Kavanagh’s well-taken goal from John O’Dwyer’s delivery brought them to within a point, 1-6 to 1-5, and then Daire Lordan and William Murphy added points as half-time approached.
In the final minute of normal time, Cork regained the advantage and they wouldn’t relinquish it thereafter. O’Sullivan and Moylan linked well, the latter drawing a good save from Gary Minihane, but McCarthy was there to poke the loose ball home.
When Dayne Lee, O’Sullivan and Paul Haughney added points early in the second half, Cork were five clear once more – with McCarthy having again tested Minihane – but CIT were doggedly staying in touch.
Good pressure was forcing turnovers and Bill Cooper, Lordan and impressive sub Seán O’Mahony were among the points before John Cronin cut the deficit to the minimum.
There was no panic from Cork. Daniel Kearney – whose twin brother William again showed up well at corner-back – took a pass from another sub, Brian Lawton, and finished well with a low shot for the third goal and then McCarthy got his second.
O’Sullivan was the chief instigator of the move, young sub Peter Kelleher also playing a key role, and McCarthy’s strike was pure, giving Minihane no chance.
That made it 4-11 to 1-13 and Séamus Harnedy, O’Sullivan, Pa Cronin and Moylan all added scores, perhaps giving the final outcome a more lopsided look than the game suggested.
The response was heartening for Barry-Murphy, but the closeness up until then wasn’t bothering him. Another game for the likes of William Kearney, Glen O’Connor, Brian O’Sullivan and Dayne Lee is the primary objective.
“I’m not getting overly concerned about it,” he said.
“What I keep saying is that we want to see players showing form and pressurising us for places on the panel. We’ll reassess it as we go forward but there are some players going very well.”
Scorers for Cork: D McCarthy 2-2, P O’Sullivan 0-5 (three frees), S Moylan 1-2, D Kearney 1-0, D Lee, P Haughney 0-2 each, P Cronin, S Harnedy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork IT: D Lordan 0-4 (three frees), K Kavanagh 1-0, J O’Dwyer, S O’Mahony, C Hammersley 0-2 each, W Murphy, J Cronin, B Cooper 0-1 each.
CORK: P Collins; W Kearney, C Joyce, C O’Sullivan; B O’Sullivan, L McLoughlin, G O’Connor; B Murray, P Haughney; A Frahill-O’Connor, A Walsh, D Lee; S Moylan, P O’Sullivan, D McCarthy.
Subs: P Kelleher for Frahill-O’Connor (half-time), B Lawton for Murray (41), D Kearney for Haughney (47, inj), P Cronin for Lee (58, injured), S Harnedy for Walsh (63).
CORK IT (Cork unless stated): G Minihane; S Murphy, A Dennehy, T Lawrence; J Herlihy, M Russell, C Buckley; A Walsh, W Murphy; D Lordan, B Cooper, J Cronin; J O’Dwyer (Tipperary), K Kavanagh, C Hammersley (Tipperary).
Subs: S O’Mahony for Murphy (57, injured), N McNamara for Walsh (66, inj), P White for Lordan (65).
Referee: J McCormack (Tipperary).