Superb Cork ease into last four
Report from the GAA.ie web site
GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final: Cork 2-19 Kildare 0-12
Cork eased into the semi-finals of the 2012 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship with an impressive 13-point defeat of Kildare at Croke Park on Sunday. An own goal by Kildare’s Eoin Doyle and a well-worked effort by Colm O’Neill helped the Rebels to a 2-5 to 0-3 lead after just 18 minutes, before the Lilywhites came thundering back and hit the final five points of the second half to trail by three, 0-8 to 2-5, at the break.
However, Kildare meekly surrendered the momentum they had fought so hard for at the start of the second half, and Cork hit a quite remarkable 10 points in a row to take complete control of the game. Cork had the luxury of missing a couple of glorious goal chances in the second half, while Kildare were reduced to 14 men after 53 minutes, when Doyle’s miserable afternoon ended with a second yellow card. Cork never relented and ruthlessly exposed Kildare’s manifest deficiencies to record a superb win which sets them up nicely for their semi-final on August 26.
Kildare made the ideal start and were 0-2 to 0-0 ahead after four minutes, a Mikey Conway free and a Rob Kelly score from play their reward for dictating the tempo early on. However, Cork were level by the 10th minute, with Paudie Kissane opening their account with a trademark point from play after a surging run out of defence, before Colm O’Neill nailed his first free of the game in fine style. Further converted placed balls from Aidan Walsh and Donncha O’Connor have the Rebels a 0-5 to 0-3, before the Munster champions hit Kildare for two goals in a crazy three-minute spell.
The first was a killer. Paul Kerrigan turned over the ball and drove at the Kildare defence before unleashing a stinging shot which Shane Connolly blocked superbly. But the rebound cruelly hit wing-back Doyle and spilled into the unguarded net. Cork landed another sucker punch in the 18th minute, with Colm O’Neill doing superbly to reach a loose ball and play in Nicholas Murphy with a clever pass. Murphy unselfishly played O’Neill back in and the Ballyclough man had the simple task of fisting the ball to an empty net.
Already eight points down, Kildare’s pre-match plans were in tatters. Manager Kieran McGeeney responded by bringing Daryl Flynn into an overwhelmed midfield and the move paid immediate dividends. An Alan Smith point from play stopped the rot, before Eoghan O’Flaherty drilled a free over to leave six in it. However, it was the score Smith hit on the half hour mark that really gave the Lilywhites some much-needed momentum. Morgan O’Flaherty won a great ball in defence and fed the always dangerous Tomás O’Connor, who in turn found Smith for a brilliant point.
John Doyle was central to the Kildare fightback and he added another from play, before Hugh McGrillen popped up from defence just before the break to strike his side’s fifth in succession, which left them trailing by 2-5 to 0-8 at half-time. The whistle came at exactly the wrong time for Kildare, as they had just seized the momentum, and when the game restarted, it was Cork who took over once again. Kildare had a couple of early chances but both were driven wide. Cork made no such mistakes when they opened the second half scoring through Daniel Goulding in the 43rd minute, the Éire Óg clubman finishing after superb work by Eoin Cadogan and Canty.
Kerrigan added another, before the quicksilver Nemo Rangers man spurned a glorious goal chance, his drilled shot forcing a fine save from Connolly, the Kildare goalkeeper. Donncha O’Connor drilled over the resultant 45. Kildare’s capitulation was complete at this stage, and it was underlined when Walsh waltzed through their defence and blasted a shot over the bar when he really should have hit the back of the net to leave his side 2-9 to 0-8 ahead.
The game was over as a contest when Doyle, who was so unlucky to score an own goal in the first half, was sent off after picking up a second yellow card. Already struggling, Doyle’s dismissal heaped further misery on McGeeney’s side. By now, the Rebels were in cruise control and clipping over scores at will, with Walsh, Kerrigan and Kissane all adding to their tallies as Cork racked up 10 points in a row before John Doyle finally hit Kildare’s first score of the second half in the 61 minutes. However, it was all remarkably one-sided as Cork weren’t even required to hit top gear such was the paucity of the Lilywhites’ challenge.
Cork Scorers: P Kissane 0-2, A Walsh 0-3 (0-1f), F Goold 0-1, P Kerrigan 0-2, C O’Neill 1-3 (0-2f), D O’Connor 0-4(0-2 45, 0-1f), D Goulding 0-2, P O’Neill 0-2, E Doyle 1-0 (OG).
Kildare Scorers: H McGrillen 0-1, M Conway 0-1 (0-1f), R Kelly 0-1, E O’Flaherty 0-1, A Smith 0-4 (0-3f), J Doyle 0-3 (0-2f), D Earley 0-1.
Cork: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; P Kissane, G Canty, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, C Sheehan, P Kerrigan; C O’Neill, D O’Connor, N Murphy. Subs: P Kelly for C Sheehan (34), P O’Neill for A O’Connor (39), D Goulding for N Murphy (42), J O’Sullivan for R Carey (47), D O’Sullivan for Canty (62).
Kildare: S Connolly, O Lyons, P Kelly, H McGrillen, E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, E Doyle, M Foley, R Kelly, E O’Flaherty, M Conway, J Doyle, A Smith, T O’Connor, J Kavanagh. Subs: Daryl Flynn for R Kelly (20), P O’Neill for M Foley, F Dowling for M Conway (both 46), S Johnston for E O’Flaherty (50), D Earley for T O’Connor (56), Lynch for D Earley (70, temp).
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan)
Rebels get over rustiness and cut loose
Kildare 0-12 Cork 2-19
By Brendan O’Brien, Croke Park for the Irish Examiner newspaper
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare have been caught with their pants down now and again in the league – Derry and Down have both handed them 11-point hidings in Newbridge – but this was unprecedented in five years of championship campaigns under the Armagh man. So, kudos to Cork for that, but 13-point canters in August are about as much use as one-sided cruises in February when it comes to the business of preparing sides for the white heat of an All-Ireland semi-final against an opponent such as Donegal. Boil this one down and Cork were put to the pin of their collar for no more than a 15-minute spell prior to the break and maybe another five after it. And all this eight, long weeks after their one and only truly competitive run-out, against Kerry, this summer. In fairness, it showed at times.
Though they purred towards the final whistle, the first-half was one in which both sides struggled to mould the game into anything approaching a pattern thanks to a plethora of spilled balls and some wayward passing. Cork’s rustiness was understandable, Kildare’s less so given they had once again emerged into the last eight via a consistent run of games through the back door against Cavan, Limerick and then Sligo eight days previously. No, more worrying for Conor Counihan was his side’s failure to claim a single score between the 19th and 43rd minutes, but they were at least fortunate to have had Lady Luck on their side at two crucial moments before the drought kicked in. Donncha O’Connor had just handed the Munster champions their fourth point and first lead when Paul Kerrigan fashioned a one-on-one with Kildare goalkeeper Shane Connolly, whose save rebounded off the legs of Eoin Doyle and into the net.
Within five minutes, Kildare had been dealt another dodgy hand when a breaking ball bounced kindly for Colm O’Neill. In fairness, the forward made the most of it by means of a one-two with O’Connor which presented the Ballyclough man with a simple touch to the rigging. Both scores were preceded by debated moments: the first when Eoghan O’Flaherty was penalised for what was Adjudged as a clean pick-up off the ground and the second by a sideline ball that possibly should have been awarded in Kildare’s favour. Kildare have been hurt by more glaring injustices in recent years, but there was time to recover yesterday. With less than 20 minutes played, McGeeney introduced Daryl Flynn into the midfield and the switch kickstarted the Leinster side’s most productive spell.
Suddenly, balls were played in fast and low to Tomas O’Connor at full-forward and the more direct approach harvested five successive points from a Cork rearguard that had become accustomed to a more laboured handpassing approach. The temptation is to surmise that the interval intervened, yet Kildare returned in much the same mood only to spill their momentum on a handful of wides that could have shaved the half-time deficit from three points to one.
And then, just as suddenly, the game turned again. As was the case in the first period, it swung, coincidentally or not, on events initiated on the sideline with Counihan sending Pearse O’Neill and Daniel Goulding on for Alan O’Connor and Nicholas Murphy. Goulding wasn’t on the pitch more than a minute before he ended his side’s alarming stagnation on the scoreboard and little could anyone know then that Kildare were already a third of the way through a barren spell of their own that would almost stretch half-an-hour. Another nine points followed in succession and, had Cork been of a mind to do so, they could have cashed half of them in for goals instead such was the ease with which they sauntered through a dissolving Kildare back line.
Aidan Walsh’s point, when he ran unmolested from midfield through to the Kildare penalty area before tipping over a languid point after 49 minutes, was the most obvious example of how uncompetitive the game became in what was really the blink of an eye. McGeeney said later it was a case of his players vacating their posts in search of the scores that would propel them back into contention but it looked more like a case of a team, individually and collectively, abandoning hope. That they finished the last 15 minutes with just 14 men was a moot point as Kildare were eight points adrift by the time the unfortunate Eoin Doyle saw his day brought to a premature end with a second yellow card. The gut feeling is Cork ended the game with a better team than the one that started, but who can say for sure given Kildare’s surrender? We’ve waited this long to have our curiosity satisfied with this Cork team. Three more weeks won’t hurt.
Scorers for Kildare: A Smith 0-4 (1f), J Doyle 0-3 (1f), H McGrillen, R Kelly, E O’Flaherty (f), M Conway (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: C O’Neill 1-3 (2fs), D O’Connor 0-4 (2 45s, 1f), E Doyle (1-0 own goal), A Walsh 0-3 (1f), P Kissane, P Kerrigan, P O’Neill, D Goulding 0-2 each, F Goold 0-1.
Subs for Kildare: D Flynn for Kelly (20), P O’Neill for Foley (47), F Dowling for Conway (47), S Johnston for E O’Flaherty (50), D Early for O’Connor (56).
Subs for Cork: P Kelly for Sheehan (34), P O’Neill for A O’Connor (40), D Goulding for Murphy (42), J O’Sullivan for Carey (47), D O’Sullivan for Canty (62).
Referee: K McQuillan (Cavan)
Cork (SFC v Kildare, Croke Park, 2pm Sunday): A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; P Kissane, G Canty, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, C Sheehan, P Kerrigan; C O’Neill, D O’Connor, N Murphy
Kildare (SFC v Cork, Croke Park, 2pm Sunday): : S Connolly; O Lyons, P Kelly, H McGrillen; E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, E Doyle; M Foley, R Kelly; E O’Flaherty, M Conway, A Smith; J Doyle (capt.), T O’Connor, J Kavanagh
This will be only the fourth clash between Cork and Kildare in championship history. They last met in the 2008 quarter-final when Cork won by 2-11 to 1-11 after Kildare staged a great recovery, having trailed by 2-3 to 0-0 after 20 minutes. Prior to that, they met in the 1956 All-Ireland semi-final which Cork won by 0-9 to 0-5. The first championship meeting between the counties was in 1928 when Kildare won an All-Ireland semi-final by 3-7 to 0-2 en route to what was their last All-Ireland success. Cork have only had two championship games so far this year, beating Kerry and Clare to win the Munster championship while Kildare used a familiar route to the quarter-finals, emerging through the qualifiers for a fifth successive season.
How they got here…
Cork 0-17 Kerry 0-12 (Munster semi-final)
Cork 3-16 Clare 0-13 (Munster final)
Average For: 1-18 Average Against: 0-13
Kildare 0-19 Offaly 0-6 (Leinster quarter-final)
Meath 1-17 Kildare 1-11 (Leinster semi-final)
Kildare 3-20 Cavan 1-9 (Qualifier Round 2)
Kildare 0-19 Limerick 0-12 (Qualifier Round 3) after extra-time
Kildare 0-13 Sligo 0-4 (Qualifier Round 4)
Average For: 1-15; Average Against: 0-11
Previous quarter-final appearances
2011: Mayo 1-13 Cork 2-6
2010: Cork 1-16 Roscommon 0-10
2009: Cork 1-27 Donegal 2-10
2008: Cork 2-11 Kildare 1-11
2007: Cork 1-11 Sligo 0-8
2006: Cork 1-11 Donegal 1-10
2005: Cork 2-14 Galway 2-11
2002: Cork 0-16 Mayo 1-10
Played 8, Won 7, Lost 1.
2008: Cork 2-11 Kildare 0-11
2009: Tyrone 0-16 Kildare 1-11
2010: Kildare 2-17 Meath 1-12
2011: Donegal 1-12 Kildare 0-14 (after extra-time)
Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3