ROUND FOUR QUALIFIERS have tended to be miserable experiences for the Cork footballers in recent times, this evening in Thurles saw them buck that trend in style.
They built on the promise of their Munster final showing, blitzing Laois with scoring sprees either side of the interval to book a place in the All-Ireland Super 8s. The tests there will be considerable but after plenty tough days, this was a qualifier success that will leave Cork satisfied.
It was a game where Cork’s Castlehaven duo of Brian Hurley and Mark Collins powered them to victory. Hurley was withdrawn midway through the second half with 2-4 to his name and having produced an invaluable contribution. Collins finished with 1-8, scoring freely from play and dead balls. They combined to wreak havoc on the Laois rearguard who could not stifle their influence.
Cork retired at the break with a five-point cushion on the scoreboard and then received the impetus of a dream start to the second half. Paul Kerrigan, freshly introduced, banged in a long delivery that was gathered by Collins, transferred inside and Hurley tapped home with his left foot. Wing-back Liam O’Donovan dashed forward for a punched point moments later and Cork were nine to the good, 1-13 to 0-7.
The second goal arrived in the 43rd minute, James Loughrey punting in from distance and Hurley burned the Laois defence before unleashing a left-foot piledriver. Eight minutes after that Hurley turned provider and Collins finished neatly. Cork were 3-17 to 0-10 clear and starting to consider their next assignment against Dublin.
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Laois battled manfully with Evan O’Carroll a bright spark after coming on while Donie Kingston kept on rattling off points. Martin Scully got clear to finish with aplomb for a goal that gave the Laois faithful cause for cheer.
Cork got to rest key men towards in the knowledge that this was a done deal. Kerrigan blasted home their fourth goal in the 65th minute to round off a fine evening’s work.
The opening exchanges had been vigorously fought. Laois hit the opening two points of the game, Cork then replied with a brace. The teams were level on four occasions inside the opening 24 minutes, Kingston’s free locking them together at 0-6 apiece.
But Cork got on a run before the break, posting six out of the seven points that the game featured. 0-12 to 0-7 inserted daylight between the teams at the midway mark, then the goalscoring burst in the third quarter pushed Cork out of sight.
Scorers for Cork: Mark Collins 1-8 (0-4f), Brian Hurley 2-4, Paul Kerrigan 1-1, Stephen Sherlock (0-1 ’45), Ruairi Deane 0-2 each, Liam O’Donovan, Kevin O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Toole 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: Donie Kingston 0-10 (0-7f), Martin Scully 1-0, Trevor Collins, Colm Murphy, Mark Barry, Evan O’Carroll, Eoin Lowry 0-1 each.
1. Mark White (Clonakilty)
4. Kevin Flahive (Douglas)
3. James Loughrey (Mallow)
17. Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers)
5. Liam O’ Donovan (Clonakilty)
6. Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty)
7. Mattie Taylor (Mallow)
8. Ian Maguire (St Finbarrs) (Captain)
9. Killian O’ Hanlon (Kilshannig)
10. Kevin O’ Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh)
11. Sean White (Clonakilty)
12. Ruairi Deane (Bantry Blues)
13. Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers)
14. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven)
15. Mark Collins (Castlehaven)
22. Ronan O’Toole (Éire Óg) for O’Hanlon (blood sub) (21)
20. Tomás Clancy (Fermoy) for Clancy (44)
18. Aidan Browne (Newmarket) for Loughrey (45)
25. Michael Hurley (Castlehaven) for Hurley (53)
19. Stephen Cronin (Nemo Rangers) for Maguire (62)
1. Graham Brody (Portlaoise)
2. Stephen Attride (Killeshin)
3. Denis Booth (The Heath)
4. Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise)
5. Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
6. Robert Piggot (Portarlington)
7. Patrick O’Sullivan (Portarlington)
8. John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s)
9. Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise)
10. Daniel O’Reilly (Graiguecullen)
11. Donie Kingston (Arles-Killeen)
12. Marty Scully (Ballyroan Abbey)
20. Eoin Lowry (Killeshin)
14. Colm Murphy (Portarlington)
15. Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen)
26. Colm Begley (Stradbally) for O’Sullivan (half-time)
21. Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard) for Paul Kingston (44)
22. Seán Byrne for O’Reilly (46)
19. Mark Barry for Murphy (46)
18. Seán O’Flynn (Courtwood) for Dillon (63)
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)
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