GAA Hurling All-Ireland Qualifiers Phase 2 – Cork 1-26 Offaly 2-16

Barry-Murphy plays down lofty status

Report from the Irish Independent newspaper

Cork 1-26 Offaly 2-16

The big question leaving Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening was whether Cork have gone backwards since their loss to Tipperary or had Offaly improved substantially from their heavy defeat to Galway. Certainly, Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy was anxious afterwards to play down the status of his men, although he was pleased with the manner in which they dealt with the surprisingly strong challenge of their opponents. Indeed, had Offaly more penetration in attack, then Cork might have been in serious trouble, but, having said that, the Rebels always looked good to tack on a few points and pull away.

“We know we are not as good as some people are making out,” said Barry-Murphy. “I thought our performance against Tipperary was very good and it is difficult to play the first qualifier after a defeat like that, but the fact that we got a home draw was a big help to us.” The crowd of 10,136 got plenty of value for money. Offaly could have made it a tighter finish, but they lost their way in the second-half. “The score flattered us, but we conceded a soft goal from a free again,” said Barry-Murphy. “We were pretty comfortable at that stage when they got the goal, but to win by seven certainly flattered us, it was never a game like that. Offaly are a very, very good side; they are better than people realise.”

Manager Ollie Baker was pleased with the midlanders’ display, but he lamented the fact they did not push Cork harder in the second-half. “We didn’t come here for a good performance. It know it is a cliche, but we came down here to win,” he said. “I have 30 lads inside in that dressing-room after putting in huge efforts. They made a lot of sacrifices and are not going to have a competitive fixture again until next February. “To develop as a team, we can’t be competitive on a consistent basis without matches. We are out of the championship this year, but there are a lot of lads there that want to play hurling, so maybe there should be a re-look at the structure and try to find a formula to make that happen.”

Baker said he was anxious to stay on and after the progress made this year, Offaly will surely be glad to have him at the helm next season. But they will need to develop more attacking options and develop players who can take on their man. They moved the ball superbly at times, but really needed some forwards to go toe-to-toe in the second-half and win the hard yards. A superb half-back line of Derek Morkan, Rory Hanniffy and Diarmuid Horan gave them a strong platform in the opening half, but, while Colin Egan rifled home a fine goal after 11 minutes, they were unable to contain Pat Horgan at the other end and the Cork skipper went on a spree, scoring 1-8 by the break. The goal after 19 minutes showed the penetration lacking against Tipp, when strong handpasses saw Pa Cronin and Paudie O’Sullivan put Horgan through and he blasted home.

However, Cork blew at least half a dozen goal-scoring chances in the second-half, with the likes of Cian McCarthy undermining a good display by taking the wrong option. The game was played at a good tempo, but Jamie Coughlan was lucky to escape with just yellow for a jab at James Rigney before the break, while Offaly’s Morkan looked set to walk before getting away with a ‘tick,’ after he’d already been booked, for a lunge at Daniel Kearney. Cork led by 1-12 to 1-10 at the break, but two points from Shane Dooley and one from Joe Bergin directly after the restart hinted at a shock, However, Conor Lehane levelled with a wonderful point and Cork proceeded to land five more, including a second monster free from goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Three Offaly points reduced the margin to two with nine minutes left, but Cork pulled away again and a Dooley goal from a 25-metre free was preceded by five Cork points and followed by three more as they advanced with ease.

Scorers — Cork: P Horgan 1-10 (7f), C McCarthy 0-5 (3 ’65s’, 1f), C Lehane 0-3, A Nash (2f), S Moylan 0-2 each, P Cronin, L McLoughlin, S Kearney, C Naughton 0-1 each.

Offaly: S Dooley 1-6 (1-3f, 1 ’65’), C Egan 1-0, J Bergin 0-3, D Morkan 0-2, S Ryan, B Murphy, B Carroll, C Mahon, D Molloy 0-1 each.

Cork — A Nash 8; C O’Sullivan 6, S O’Neill 6, B Murphy 6; T Kenny 8, C Joyce 7, W Egan 7; D Sweetnam 7, L McLoughlin 7; P Cronin 7, C McCarthy 7, C Lehane 7; J Coughlan 6, P O’Sullivan 7, P Horgan 8.

Subs: D Kearney 7 for Sweetnam (41), L O’Farrell 7 for Coughlan (43), C Naughton 6 for McLoughlin (54), S Moylan 7 for P O’Sullivan (64), N McCarthy 6 for Cronin (69).

Offaly — E Kelly 7; C Hernon 5, D Kenny 7, J Rigney 6; D Morkan 8, R Hanniffy 7, D Horan 7 ; K Brady 6, S Ryan 6; C Egan6 , C Mahon7 , B Murphy 6; S Dooley 7, J Bergin 7, B Carroll 6.

Subs: D Franks 6 for Hernon (23), C Parlon 6 for Carroll (49), D Molloy 6 for Murphy (56), D Mooney 6 for Brady (62), T Carroll 6 for Egan (66).

Ref — M Wadding (Waterford)

 

Rebels stick to guns

Cork 1-26 Offaly 2-16

By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Flattering was Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s description, and flattering was just about right. Cork ended Saturday night’s hurling qualifier seven points to the good, but Offaly’s Shane Dooley had made it a four-point game with a goal from a 69th-minute free. Not quite as nerve-wracking for home supporters as the closing moments of last year’s qualifier between the same teams, when Offaly’s goal narrowed the gap to one point in the last minute, but uncomfortable if you were in red and white. Uncomfortable that is until Cork rattled off three quick points before the final whistle. “Credit to Cork, we gave it everything,” said Offaly boss Ollie Baker. “We tore into them for about 55 minutes, then they just got a cushion of a few points and we found it hard to get back. Shane did fierce well to get that goal but we just weren’t able to get the scores at vital times.”

His Cork counterpart was candid about his side’s display. “The scoreline flattered us,” said Barry-Murphy. “We were pretty comfortable when they got that goal, but to win by seven points, we’re certainly flattered by that. It was never a game like that and we’re happy with the win. Glad to get out of it. “Offaly are better than people realise, their performance against Galway was a one-off. We’re very much in a developmental stage with our panel.” Barry-Murphy’s youngsters learned more lessons on Saturday night. Offaly created plenty of space in the first half and the Cork manager pointed to Tom Kenny’s experience as being vital in helping his fellow defenders settle. Offaly were well worth an early lead though — on 10 minutes Cork keeper Anthony Nash saved well from a Bergin flick but Cork were indecisive with the rebound and Egan smashed the ball home. Patrick Horgan kept Cork in touch with three points from play, and when a Shane Dooley 65 put four between them on 17 minutes Horgan responded, finding the net from close range following good work by Pa Cronin and Paudie O’Sullivan.

The Glen Rovers man kept Cork ahead with three more points (two frees) as the half wound down; Brian Carroll, Derek Morkan and Bergin responded, leaving it 1-12 to 1-10 at the break, which was preceded by controversy. Cork forward Jamie Coughlan and James Rigney of Offaly tangled off the ball and the Corkman was lucky to get away with a yellow card. The second half echoed the first. Offaly began well and overhauled Cork by the 40th minute, but the Rebels rallied with Cian McCarthy leading the way, they edged away from Offaly without ever making the gap between them emphatic. Horgan had a penalty saved by Eoin Kelly but McCarthy pointed the resulting 65, and subs Daniel Kearney and Stephen Moylan (two) chipped in with scores to put Cork seven up when Dooley goaled from a 25m free.

Barry-Murphy has positives to reflect upon this morning. Darren Sweetnam battled through a stomach bug and his eventual replacement, Daniel Kearney, put in a fine shift, while another sub, Moylan, hit two fine points. The on-field tutorial offered by the visitors’ creation of space is another lesson that can’t be replicated for inter-county newcomers on the training ground. “Offaly withdrew players and some of our backs found it hard to read the game,” said Barry-Murphy “Tom Kenny was a big help and that’s all part of the learning curve. “We overdid it [hand-passing] at times in the second half. I’m not going to criticise the players, at times it looked to be on but one pass too many at times got us into trouble. But winning by seven points is testament to the players, the way they kept going.”

Scorers for Cork: P Horgan 1-10 (0-7f), C McCarthy 0-5 (3 65s, 1f), C Lehane 0-3, A Nash (2f), S Moylan 0-2 each, P Cronin, L McLoughlin, D Kearney, C Naughton 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 1-6 (1-3fs, 1 65), C Egan 1-0, J Bergin 0-3, D Morkan 0-2, B Murphy, S Ryan, B Carroll, D Molloy, C Mahon 0-1 each.

Subs for Cork: D Kearney for Sweetnam (40), L O’Farrell for Coughlan (43), C Naughton for McLoughlin (53), S Moylan for P O’Sullivan (64), N McCarthy for Cronin (69).

Subs for Offaly: D Franks for Hernon (23), C Parlon for Carroll (48), D Molloy for Murphy (57), D Mooney for Brady (63), T Carroll for Egan (66).

Referee: M Wadding (Waterford)

Team News

CORK (SH v Offaly): A Nash; S O’Neill, B Murphy, C O’Sullivan; T Kenny, C Joyce, W Egan; D Sweetnam, L McLoughlin; C Lehane, C McCarthy, P Cronin; J Coughlan, P O’Sullivan, P Horgan.

Offaly XV v Cork in the All-Ireland SHC Qualifier against Cork at Ui Chaoimh on Saturday at 7pm:

Eoin Kelly, Conor Hernon, David Kenny, James Rigney, Derek Morkan, Rory Hanniffy, Diarmuid Horan, Kevin Brady, Sean Ryan, Colin Egan, Conor Mahon, Brendan Murphy, Shane Dooley, Joe Bergin, Brian Carroll.

Match Preview

Cork v Offaly, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 7pm

Cork host Offaly at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday in Phase II of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Qualifiers, with the sides having met at the Phase I stage in 2011.

That day, also at the Cork venue, the Rebels won an extremely tight contest 2-17 to 2-16, but Offaly hit 16 wides in the game, and went away feeling they had left behind a chance to capture a famous win over Cork.

Both sides have changed managers since then, Denis Walsh being replaced by Jimmy Barry-Murphy in Cork, and Ollie Baker taking over the Faithful reins from Joe Dooley. The changes have made an instant impact this season, especially in Cork, where plenty of optimism surrounds the county’s hurling team after a few years in the doldrums.

Having reached the Allianz Hurling League final, and having lost by just a point to Tipperary in the Munster GAA Hurling Championship semi-final, Cork are clearly capable of challenging the top teams once again. Young players like Conor Lehane and Darren Sweetnam have brought much needed vitality to the team, and securing a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals will be their minimum target from here.

Championship Clashes

Cork v Offaly

2011: Offaly 2-16 Cork 2-17

2009: Offaly 1-12 Cork 3-19

2007: Cork 1-27 Offaly 0-11

2000: Offaly 0-19 Cork 0-15

1999: Cork 0-19 Offaly 0-16

It’s hard to say how much progress Offaly have made since that one-point defeat last year. They beat Wexford in the Leinster quarter-final, but conceded a whopping 5-23 in the semi-final against Galway. There are serious concerns about their defence’s ability to contain the top forward lines in the country, and given that Cork hit 0-24 past Tipperary, the challenge for Offaly is mighty.

Baker is hoping for his side to cause an upset against Cork, whose performance against Tipperary he admired.

“It’s a huge challenge being presented to us. We can’t concentrate on Cork, we have to concentrate on ourselves and getting our performance right which is something we didn’t do against Galway,” he said.

Barry-Murphy has made two changes to his team for the game, with Christopher Joyce and Cian McCarthy coming in for Eoin Cadogan (who is playing with the footballers this weekend) and Cathal Naughton.

Baker has brought goalkeeper Eoin Kelly in for his championship debut, while Conor Hernon and Seán Ryan come into the defence and midfield.

How they got here…..

Tipperary….1-22 Cork 0-24

Cork led for much of the way in the Munster semi-final but a second half goal from Noel McGrath swung the game Tipperary’s way. Patrick Horgan (0-11), Jamie Coughlan (0-3) and Paudie O’Sullivan (0-3) were Cork’s top scorers.

Offaly 2-12 Wexford 1-13

Galway 5-23 Offaly 3-15

Shane Dooley scored 1-8 as Offaly edged out Wexford in the Leinster quarterfinal and was again Offaly’s top scorer on 2-7 in the semi-final against Galway. However, on this occasion Offaly were no match for Galway and were beaten by 14 points.