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All-Ireland GAA Hurling Championship Qualifier Round 1 – Cork 2-17 Offaly 2-16
Cork win by narrowest of margins
From the Breakingnews.ie web site
Cork 2-17 Offaly 2-16
Cork overcame Offaly in the All-Ireland senior hurling qualifiers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh today, but it was a win not without its scary moments. Leading by eight points with 19 minutes left, the Rebels looked set to coast to victory despite having played most of the game with 14 men, but the dogged visitors refused to accept defeat. As the game moved into injury time with four points separating the teams, Cork goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack made a good save to deny Conor Mahon a goal, but from the resultant 65 Shane Dooley’s shot travelled all the way to the net to leave the minimum in it. Cork won the puckout, however, ensuring that no chance of an equaliser, and extra time, materialised for Offaly, their championship campaign coming to an end while Cork await the winners of next week’s Galway-Clare and Limerick-Wexford clashes.
Overall, there can be no denying that Denis Walsh’s side were the better team, and had they not suffered a Pa Cronin red card in the 20th minute then they would surely have won by more. A tally of 16 wides, 11 when playing with the wind in the first half, is a strong case against Offaly’s claims that they deserved to progress, but against defeats of 19 and 13 points against the same opposition in 2007 and ’09, this performance represented a big improvement. As usual, Dooley was the scorer-in-chief for the Faithful County, scoring 1-9, but he suffered from poor shooting during the first half as scoreable frees were squandered, with Daniel Currams and Colin Egan others to shine for the visitors.
The hosts never really hit top gear, but for the most part their hurling was cleverer, using the ball efficiently when playing with the numerical deficit, Jerry and Ben O’Connor heavily involved while captain Shane O’Neill showed that he is returning to his best after missing most of the league due to injury. Corner-forward Patrick Horgan continued his excellent recent form, scoring 10 points and generally flawless from frees, and Paudie O’Sullivan, who started at full-forward but was moved to the wing after Cronin’s dismissal, also worked hard and was unlucky not to have more scores to his name. Cork began brightly, only a Rory Hanniffy block denying Horgan a goal chance in the first minute but less than three had elapsed before they did find the net, Cian McCarthy pulling to the roof of the net after Horgan broke a John Gardiner delivery.
Dooley and Joe Bergin pointed for Offaly immediately after, though, and then they hit the front when Dooley did well to win the ball among a group of Cork defenders before finding Egan, who beat Cusack with a powerful shot. In keeping with the breakneck start, Cork were soon back in front, however as Luke O’Farrell scored another Cork goal after a flowing possession move involving O’Neill, Horgan and O’Sullivan. Two Currams points edged Offaly back in front and the contest began to settle, but not before Dooley had a 20m free saved by O’Neill and Cronin was sent off for an off-the-ball strike on Conor Mahon. Despite having a man less, Cork coped by ensuring deliveries were not aimless and Horgan’s injury-time point, just after O’Sullivan was wide with a goal effort, made it 2-7 to 1-7 at half-time.
The outset of the second half saw Cork really take control of the game, two Dooley frees Offaly’s only answer to the Rebel onslaught as six points were registered to push them 2-13 to 1-9 clear, seemingly coasting. Currams, moved to centre-forward from midfield, bravely carried the Offaly fight, however, scoring three points in as many minutes, Horgan and Dooley then sharing four between them, ensuring that the five-point difference with 10 left was not insurmountable for Offaly. They were creating goal chances but not converting them, sub Cathal Parlon going close in the 63rd minute, not long after Currams was denied by Cusack’s fine save from a rasping shot.
Dooley closed the gap to just four with four minutes left but Cork sub Tom Kenny answered that only for Dooley’s excellent score from the right sideline to ensure that the game was still up for grabs. When Currams sent a nice ball into Mahon’s path to put him clear, he looked sure to cut the gap to one but Cusack got down well to the low shot to send it wide. Dooley intended to drop his 65 short but instead nobody dealt with it and it hit the net. It was not enough, however, and Cork prevailed.
CORK: D Óg Cusack; S McDonnell, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner, W Egan, S O’Neill; J O’Connor (0-2), P Cronin; B O’Connor (0-2), C McCarthy (1-0), N McCarthy; L O’Farrell (1-0), P O’Sullivan (0-1), P Horgan 0-10 (0-5f).
Subs: R Curran for Egan (54), T Kenny for N McCarthy, C Naughton for O’Farrell (both 58), B Cooper for C McCarthy (62).
OFFALY: J Dempsey; S Egan, D Kenny, C McDonald; D Hayden, R Hanniffy, D Morkan; D Currams (0-5), C Egan (1-0); J Mulrooney, J Bergin (0-1), C Mahon (0-1); S Dooley 1-9 (0-7f, 1-0 65), G Healion, B Carroll.
Subs: B Mulrooney for S Egan (14), B Murphy for Carroll (half-time), C Parlon for J Mulrooney (66), J Brady for Murphy (68).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)
Cork XV v Offaly in the All-Ireland SHC second phase qualifier at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Saturday at 2.30pm:
Dónal Óg Cusack; Stephen McDonnell, Eoin Cadogan, Brian Murphy; John Gardiner, William Egan, Shane O’Neill (cpt); Jerry O’Connor, Pa Cronin; Ben O’Connor, Cian McCarthy, Niall McCarthy; Luke O’Farrell, Paudie O’Sullivan, Pat Horgan.
Subs: Martin Coleman, Eoin Dillon, Conor O’Sullivan, Ronan Curran, James Nagle, Tom Kenny, Cathal Naughton, Bill Cooper, Jamie Coughlan, Kieran Murphy, Michael Cussen.
CORK v OFFALY
They meet for the third time in the qualifiers in five seasons with Cork having won the previous two quite easily. They won by 13 points in 2009 and by 19 points two years earlier. Offaly’s last – and only championship victory over Cork – came in 2000 when they won an All-Ireland Semi-final by four points.
How they got here….
Tipperary 3-22 Cork 0-23 (Munster quarter-final) Cork 10-20 Laois 1-13 (All-Ireland qualifier) Top Cork scorers Patrick Horgan……………3-24 Paudie O’Sullivan……….3-2 Niall McCarthy……………0-6 Jamie Coughlan……………2-0 Bill Cooper………………….1-3
Dublin 2-21 Offaly 1-20 (Leinster quarter-final) Top Scorers Shane Dooley……..1-13 (0-11f) Joe Bergin…………..0-3
Last Five Championship Clashes
2009: Cork 3-19 Offaly 1-12 (All-Ireland qualifiers)
2007: Cork 1-27 Offaly 0-11 (All-Ireland qualifiers)
2000: Offaly 0-19 Cork 0-15 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1999: Cork 0-19 Offaly 0-16 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1984: Cork 3-16 Offaly 1-12 (All-Ireland final)