Cork had their third outing in the Allianz football league on Sunday last when they welcomed down to Pairc Uí Chaoimh for this division three contest.
Blustery conditions prevailed with Cork having the elements in their favour in the opening half. Still it was the visitors that had the opening point with Donal O’ Hehir on target in the 2nd minute. It took Cork five minutes to level through John O’Rourke with Cork going in front two minutes later with a point from Cathal O’Mahony. Although Cork were playing with a strong wind, they were playing composed and patient football with further points from Damien Gore and Brian Hartnett giving them a 0-4 to 0-1 first quarter lead.
Down were defending in numbers but Cork full-back Thomas Clancy got up to registrar a point while Damien Gore also pointed a free. Cork full forward Ciaran Sheehan made it a six-point advantage but given the strength of the wind, Cork would need every score they could get. Down were coping well enough with the Cork attack but showing little adventure in attack although Eoin McCabe did shoot a point before the interval. Goalkeeper Rory Byrnes was also off target from a free as Cork closed out the half with a point from Rurai Deane to lead by 0-8 to 0-2 at half time.
In the second half Cork showed plenty of adventure with Ian Maguire giving them the perfect start. In this half Cork played a much more open game as they ran with the ball and further points from Liam O’Donovan and Damien Gore built on their lead. Down for their part were making no inroads against a tight Cork defence and while Damien O’Hagan and Paul Devlin kicked points, they were unable to close the gap on Cork. Both sides went to the bench and while Eoin McCabe and Cory Quinn had points for the Mourne men they still trailed by 0-13 to 0-6 going into the final quarter as Cathal O’Mahony and Tadgh Corkery had points for the rebels.
Down were then thrown a lifeline of sorts as Sean White picked up a second yellow card with Cork now playing with 14 for the remainder of the half. Cork did not panic and indeed increased their lead with a magnificent point from Ian Maguire while Cathal O’Mahony added a point when he might easily have had a goal. Down continued to battle and points from Donal O’ Hehir and Darren O’ Hagan still left them seven points adrift with five minutes remaining.
Down then got through for the only goal of the game with Cory Quinn beating Michael a Martin and suddenly it was game on as Cork went down to 13 players as Kevin Crowley was forced off injured with all the Cork subs already on. One of those subs Luke Connolly settled any late nerves with a marvellous 68th minute pointed free and while Down kicked four late wides they were unable to close the gap against a resolute Cork defence that helped Cork record their third win of the campaign. With Longford winning against Leitrim, they move into second behind Cork with Derry also recording a home win against Tipperary, who will be Cork’s next opponent in two weeks’ time.
Cork: D Gore 0-3, C O’Mahony 0-3, I Maguire 0-2, B Hartnett, J O’Rourke, T Clancy, C Sheehan, R Deane, T Corkery, L O’Donovan and L Connolly 0-1 each.
Down: C Quinn 1-1, D O’ Hehir 0-2, D O’ Hagan 0-2, E McCabe 0-2 and P Devlin 0-1.
Cork: M A Martin, S Powter, T Clancy, K Crowley, T Corkery, L O’Donovan, M Taylor, I Maguire, B Hartnett, R Deane, S White, J O’Rourke, C O’Mahony, C Sheehan and D Gore. Subs used C O’Callaghan for C Sheehan, L Connolly for R Deane, P Kerrigan for D Gore, K O’Hanlon for J O’Rourke and C Kiely for S Powter.
Down: R Byrnes, D O’ Hagan, C Poland, R McNallan, D McGuiness, K McKiernan, J Flynn, B O’Hagan, G Collins, J Johnson, E McCabe, R Quinn, P Devlin, D O’ Hehir and P Murdock. Subs used C Quinn for K McKiernan, L Corr for R Quinn, S Dornan for P Devlin, J McGuinness for G Collins and L Midleton for C Poland.
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin)