Nobody was surprised at the margin of Cork’s victory in last night’s Electric Ireland Munster MFC first-round tie in Páirc Uí Rinn, least of all Waterford boss Tom Flynn.
Two goals in the opening 10 minutes set the home side on their way in front of 915 people, with a 2-13 to 0-3 lead at half-time.
Flynn couldn’t fault his side and is optimistic as they take on the winner of the Tipperary-Limerick play-off tie for a place in the semi-finals against Clare. As he pointed out, Cork face Kerry in the last four with no safety-net, highlighting the unfitness of the championship format.
“This wasn’t our game, we knew this,” said Flynn.
“I said it in the Cork dressing room there, we’re picking from 20 clubs and they’re picking from 102 clubs. What happened here tonight is the equivalent of putting a north Cork junior B team into the Cork senior football championship and telling them, ‘Go play Nemo Rangers’ — it’s wrong.
“We came out and we did our best, we tried to prepare well, but this championship isn’t right. Cork are going to play Kerry and one of the two of them will be out, we could perform brilliantly against Tipp or Limerick and then perform well against Clare and we could be in a Munster final. The total structure of the thing is wrong.”
A national championship had been proposed by Clare at the GAA’s annual Congress in February, but was heavily defeated, to the disappointment of Flynn.
“Clare had a brilliant idea,” he said, “they put it forward to Congress and 72% of the people defeated it.
“Our own delegate didn’t know what it was a week beforehand until I rang him and explained it to him, I’m sure it was the same in other counties.
“You’d have had a nationwide championship with the top team in each group going forward to the All-Ireland championship and second going into a shield. We’d be playing teams of our own ilk, the likes of Leitrim, Wicklow, and that, and we’d benefit a lot more from being in that championship than this.”
While playing defensively might have limited the scoring damage, Waterford opted not to bring extra players back.
“What benefit would that do us,” asked Flynn.
“We could have gone out and played 15 men at the back, but there were 900 people that paid in here tonight, that wasn’t going to do them any good, looking at us swarming around the backs.”
Cork manager Bobbie O’Dwyer could be pleased with how his team did, not least the lack of complacency which ensured that early goals were scored by Conor Corbett and Aodhán Ó Luasa.
“There were some nice bits of football played and we’ll take the positives from that, there were definitely some areas that we’ll have to work on.”
“The lads were focused,” he added.
It’s like any team, some good and some not so good, at least there’s something there for us to work at.”
A semi-final tie with Kerry in four weeks will certainly focus the minds. If O’Dwyer had any misgivings about the structures, he was channelling them positively.
“The rules are what they are,” he said. “We’re going out to play them, Kerry will be going out to win, we’ll be going out to win. We’re looking forward to it, it’s an opportunity for our lads to test themselves against what’s a really good Kerry team.”
Cork were set on their way with Corbett’s goal inside three minutes, with Hugh Murphy having drawn a save from Niall McSweeney just before that.
Ó Luasa netting in the 10th minute to make it 2-4 to 0-0 and had another point before Aaron Ryan got Waterford off the mark. Liam Fennell came close to a Waterford goal, Diarmid Doody denying him, but Cork continued to dominate and led by 2-13 to 0-3 at half-time.
Evan Cooke added a third goal within a minute of the restart and though the scoring rate dropped as both sides emptied their benches, the Rebels eased further clear, Seán McDonnell with a fourth goal at the death.
Scorers for Cork: A Ó Luasa 1-5 (two frees), C Corbett, S McDonnell 1-2 each, E Cooke 1-1, D O’Sullivan 0-3, M O’Neill 0-3, D Buckley, F Cronin, E Nation, J Harte 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford: J Power (0-1 free), N O’Keeffe (0-2 free) 0-2 each, A Ryan 0-1 (free).
CORK: D Doody (Buttevant); D Connolly (Glanworth), D Buckley (Newcestown), C O’Donovan (Glanmire); F Cronin (Cullen), D Phelan (Aghada), E Nation (Aghada); N Hartnett (Douglas), R Lombard (Ballyhooly); H Murphy (Éire Óg), D O’Sullivan (St Finbarr’s), E Cooke (Ballincollig); S McDonnell (Mallow), A Ó Luasa (Naomh Abán), C Corbett (Clyda Rovers).
Subs: J Harte (Douglas) for Lombard, A Whelton (Castlehaven) for Murphy (both 35), M O’Neill (Buttevant) for Corbett (37), N Lordan (Ballinora) for Connolly (44), M White (Douglas) for Doody, J O’Shea (Urhan) for Nation (51).
WATERFORD: N McSweeney (Gaultier); C Foley (Ballinacourty), S Boyce (The Nire), S Lennon (Brickey Rangers); L Power (Kilgobnet), T Walsh (Rathgormack), L Fennell (Stradbally); C Browne (Brickey Rangers), J Power (Rathgormack); A Ryan (The Nire), L Walsh (The Nire), S Ronayne (Brickey Rangers); N O’Keeffe (De La Salle), M Ó Floinn (Old Parish), R Elliffe (Rathgormack).
Subs: H Griffin (Ballinameela) for Ryan (18, injured), A Behan (Kilrossanty) for Power (half-time), T Mooney (Kill) for Ronayne (40), P Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty) for Ó Floinn (50), S Walsh (The Nire) for Elliffe (53), K Taylor (St Saviour’s) for Fennell (58).
Referee: B Griffin (Kerry).
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