Allianz Football League Division 1 – Cork 3-17 Down 0-15

Cork defeated Down by 3-17 to 0-15 in Round 4 of the Allianz Football League Division 1 on Saturday at Pairc Ui Rinn.

Cork rediscover goal-scoring touch

From the web site

Saturday, March 12, 2011

All-Ireland champions Cork finally rediscovered their goal-scoring touch to beat Down by 3-17 to 0-15 in an entertaining game at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.

With just one goal in their Allianz League campaign before tonight and having struggled to find the back of the net throughout their All-Ireland-winning run last year, the Rebels scored three fine goals to condemn the Mourne men to the first defeat in the League, ensuring they are now back on course to make the final of the competition for the second successive year. Pearse O’Neill sent the Rebels on their way with a sixth minute goal that helped Conor Counihan’s side to a 1-9 to 0-10 lead at the break, while Colm O’Neill and Paddy Kelly added a coat of gloss to the win with a pair of late goals.

It was dispiriting end to a game which Down contributed handsomely to, but the intricate forward play of the influential Mark Poland was not matched by the performance of the Mourne defence, which was guilty of giving Cork’s forward far too much space. In the end, Down finished the game with 14 men after Aidan Brannigan was sent off late in the game for raising his hand. Cork’s success was built upon their dominance in midfield, while man-of-the-match Daniel Goulding contributed 0-7 from play in the first half alone, although he failed to add to his tally after the break.

Down were two points ahead inside the first two minutes, as Ronan Murtagh and Poland gave James McCartan’s side the perfect start to the game. Goulding, however, gave off some early signs that he was in the right mood with a pair of frees to level the game in the fifth minute. The Rebels seized the initiative when they grabbed the only goal of the first half a minute later, when Alan O’Connor once again won the ball in midfield and Paudie Kissane played Pearse O’Neill through on goal. The Aghada man stretched and drove the ball home.

Goulding finished the first half with seven points, including a fine effort from play after 16 minutes, which gave Counihan’s side a four-point lead, 1-5 to 0-4. It was a brilliant first-half display from the Éire Óg man, who was Cork’s match-winner in the All-Ireland final defeat of the Mourne men last September, when he scored 0-9. Colm O’Neill and Goulding, his seventh, left the Rebels in a comfortable position as half-time approached, but Down had the last say of the opening period when Conor Laverty finished off a fine move to leave just two points, 1-9 to 0-10, in it at the break.

Down opened the second half in style and were level by the 40th minute, when Martin Clarke slung over a point from a free. Cork, however, gave the perfect riposte, hitting three successive points, with Kelly on target twice and Fintan Goold sending over his third of the game. Aidan Walsh came on for a visibly flagging Nicholas Murphy to bolster the Cork midfield and the Kanturk man made an impact, driving over a fine point from play before Cork made the decisive burst for the line in the 57th minute. Noel O’Leary delivered a long ball into Colm O’Neill in the full-forward and the big Ballyclough man turned sharply to drive home a superb goal. Down were reduced to 14 men in the closing stages when Brannigan was sent off, while Cork finished with a flourish and a Kelly goal with practically the last play of the game gave them a 3-17 to 0-15 win.