Fitzgerald on fire as Cork tested by Limerick

Cork 2-12 Limerick 1-6
WHILE Cork’s victory over Limerick in the Munster MFC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last night was comfortable in the finish, but they have a lot of work ahead of them if they are to have a say in the destination of this year’s Munster MFC title.

A Limerick goal from a penalty with 15 minutes to go threatened to set up a lively finish, but Cork responded to the danger with a second goal, scored by Brian Hurley, and went on to win by double scores.

One of the few features of a disappointing tie was the excellence of Cork’s Daniel Fitzgerald. Operating at right-corner forward, the Kiskeam youngster contributed 1-6 of his side’s tally and a player to watch for the future.

Limerick opted to play with five forwards in the opening half with full-forward James Kelly operating as a third midfielder, all to no effect as Cork ruled that area from the throw in, principally due to the excellence of Patrick Wiley.

Paul Donna gave the visitors an early lead with a point after four minutes, but Cork hit back strongly, playing the more direct football in the greasy underfoot conditions.

Clearly Daniel Fitzgerald was Cork’s key forward as he was regularly targeted by his outfield colleagues and he showed his class with three excellent points in a row as the home side led 0-4 to 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter.

The numerical stronger Cork defence had little difficulty coping with the sporadic Limerick raids with Alan Cronin and Darragh Rogers well on top, but the Shannonsiders did manage to get thorough for two points, the first one a beauty by James Kelly, to trail by one after 20 minutes.

Unfortunately for them they were not to score again for the remainder of the half as Cork took a firm grip on a free-ridden game.

Daniel Fitzgerald continued to give his marker a torrid time with John Dineen equally effect at full forward, and a The far more effective home attack led by ensured a double-scores lead, 0-6 to 0-3, before the game’s opening goal came in the 29th minute. A long ball in by David Drake was won by John Dineen, and he put Daniel Fitzgerald in for a peach of a goal which helped the home side to an interval lead of 1-7 to 0-3.

Limerick persisted with five forwards for the second half but Cork quickly added to their half time tally of 1-7 to 0-3 with a John Dineen point in the 31st minute and it was going to take a couple of goal by the visitors to turn this game around.

However fFor all their territorial advantage, Cork left themselves vulnerable as the tactic of playing James Kelly as a third midfielder began to work and the pressure on the Cork defence began to mount.

A long ball by substitute Thomas Quilligan fell kindly to Paul Donna who was taken down going through and the Limerick captain coolly slotted home the resultant penalty to give his side a glimmer of hope.

Cork’s response was instant, however as the hugely impressive Daniel Fitzgerald kicked his fifth point from play to ease the pressure.

Limerick stayed in the hunt with a Mark Ranahan point from a long-range free, but Cork hit back with a John Dineen point before finally closing the door on the Shannonsiders with their second goal.

It came following a long delivery into the Limerick square by Rory O’Sullivan and Brian Hurley flicked the football to the net to put his side into an unassailable lead, which was further embellished by a splendid points by David Drake and William O’Mahony.

It wasn’t a vintage display by any means but Cork will be pleased with the displays of Darragh Drake, Damien Cahalane, Alan Cronin, Patrick Wiley, John Dineen and Daniel Fitzgerald.

Limerick who now face a play-off, had good players in Aidan O’Sullivan, Sean Nicholas, Paul Donna and James Kelly.

Scorers for Cork D Fitzgerald 1-6 (1f); J Dineen 0-4; B Hurley 1-0; D Drake, W O’Mahony, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: P Donna 1-34 (1-0 pen, 3f); J Kelly, T Quilligan, M Ranahan (f), 0-1 each.

CORK: S Mellett; D O’Donovan, D Rogers, D Cahalane; A Cronin, R O’Sullivan, S Finn; E Healy, P Wiley; G Minihane, J O’Rourke, D Drake; D Fitzgerald, J Dineen, B Hurley.

Subs: W O’Mahony for Finn, 45; R Deane for Minihane, 55.

LIMERICK: J O’Donohoe; S Nicholas, T McCarthy, A Morrissey; P Martin, A O’Sullivan, M Sheehan; C Behan, J Walsh; P Quinn, M Ranahan, P Donna; J Mulcahy, J Kelly, D Bonfil.

Subs: R Egan for O’Sullivan, 26; T Quilligan for Mulcahy, 40; B Crowley for Behan, 45; E Kelly for Ranahan, M Cussen for J, Walsh, both 57.

Referee: J Brew (Clare).


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