Rebels claim League crown yet again
29/04/2012 - 19:15:55
Cork 2-10 Mayo 0-11
Cork won their fourth Allianz Football League title in-a-row and their third Division 1 crown, courtesy of a dominant second half period, when their power proved too much for Mayo.
James Horan’s side had gone in at half time leading by four points and were full value for that advantage, but they had absolutely no answer as the champions upped the ante in both an offensive and defensive sense after the resumption.
Cillian O’Connor was unerring from frees in that first half and contributed six points in total, five of which came as a result of Cork’s indiscretions.
But the westerners only managed two points in the latter period, whereas Cork kicked four on the trot before goals from Colm O’Neill and Aidan Walsh gave them sufficient breathing space to play down the clock in the final ten minutes.
There was no sign of the Mayo meltdown in the opening period.
Indeed it was Cork that looked ruffled, conceding some silly frees that O’Connor punished accurately.
Cork posed very little attacking threat and Mayo defenders Keith Higgins and Donal Vaughan were able to pour forward to kick points of their own.
Cork only managed five points in a fairly dreadful first half with Fintan Goold providing two of them, one with either boot.
He was the only forward to make any impact though, as Aidan Walsh was brought further out the field and Lee Keegan was doing an outstanding man-marking job on Paul Kerrigan.
Patrick Kelly couldn’t get to grips with proceedings either and there was little doubting the merit of Mayo’s 0-9 to 0-5 interval advantage.
It’s safe enough to presume that Cork boss Conor Counihan issued a few home truths at the break and he must have been pleased by the response.
Alan O’Connor made progress up the right flank and pointed after just 27 seconds.
Within a minute Patrick Kelly added a brilliant point over his left shoulder.
The deficit was down to one less than a minute later when Pearse O’Neill added his second score of the game.
Donncha O’Connor brought the sides level in the 44th minute with another smart score and Mayo desperately needed to stop the bleeding.
They couldn’t do it and just three minutes later, you sensed their hopes were evaporating quickly, as Colm O’Neill sent a screaming shot to the roof of the Mayo net, having been found by Donncha O’Connor.
That was 1-3 without reply, and though the industrious Kevin McLaughlin did kick a nice point, the stroke of fortune they needed went Cork’s way to confirm the result.
There was still a quarter of an hour remaining when Lee Keegan sliced through the Cork defence put lost possession, seemingly as a result of a push by Pearse O’Neill.
Less than 30 seconds later, Goold hit the upright when shooting for a point and the ball fell kindly to Walsh, who rammed the rebound to the net.
Conor Mortimer had a day to forget as Eoin Cadogan shadowed his every move and his late free was little consolation as Cork eased to victory.
Cork: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; G Canty 0-1(f), N O’Leary, P Kissane; P O’Neill 0-2, A O’Connor 0-1; F Goold 0-2, P Kelly 0-1, P Kerrigan; C O’Neill 1-0, A Walsh 1-0, D O’Connor 0-2(1f).
Sub: D Goulding 0-1 for C O’Neill.
Mayo: D Clarke; K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins 0-1; L Keegan, D Vaughan 0-1, C Boyle; B Moran, J Gibbons; K McLoughlin 0-1, A Moran 0-1, A Dillon; C Mortimer 0-1`(f), C O’Connor 0-6(5fs), M Conroy.
Subs: P Harte for Gibbons; E Varley for Conroy; J Doherty for O’Connor.
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