Fintan O’Toole reports from Gaelic Grounds
AN AFTERNOON IN the Gaelic Grounds to rip up the Munster hurling form book.
Patrick Horgan celebrates his goal for Cork against Limerick.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
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Limerick, the reigning kingpins of the championship and league, returned to a home stadium that was bristling with anticipation at the opening shots they would fire in summer 2019.
Cork entered the game with doubts swirling around them on the back of being dismissed by Tipperary last Sunday but they fashioned a stirring response to inflict a seven-point defeat on the champions.
Patrick Horgan drilled home a 53rd minute goal that propelled Cork into a four-point lead and it was the strike that put daylight between these teams that would never be subsequently closed.
Cork trailed by two at the break yet were seven clear by the full-time whistle. The second-half turnaround was reflective of a defence that closed the channels of space available to Limerick with four of their starting attack benched by the end.
Horgan finished with 1-9 to his credit after a mixed day in the shooting department as he chalked up seven wides but crucially he received far greater support than last Sunday’s outing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
After performing surgery to his starting fifteen with four changes, John Meyler saw Cork robbed of Conor Lehane six minutes in as he limped off with a damaged ankle. He’d popped over a point by that stage but his replacement stepped up with a considerable input.
Alan Cadogan was lining out in the championship arena for the first time since August 2017 yet finished with 0-3 in a display that demonstrated his attacking menace. Daniel Kearney was terrific as he hit 0-4, a return that matched the score registered by an inspired Seamus Harnedy.
Limerick had edged ahead 1-11 to 0-12 at the break, a scoreline that was illustrative of a vigorously contested game. Their crucial intervention arrived in the 27th minute, Graeme Mulcahy the beneficiary as the sliotar dropped into his lap after a Declan Hannon shot seemed to be under-cooked. Mulcahy still had a bit to do from an acute angle and with Sean O’Donoghue in close proximity but he thrashed a fine shot to the roof of the net past Anthony Nash.
Cork stormed downfield after that with Harnedy exchanging hand passes with Aidan Walsh to scythe through the Limerick rearguard yet Nickie Quaid rushed out to smother with plenty defensive bodies back in support. If that incident may have evoked painful memories of last August in Croke Park for the Cork captain, he didn’t look like a man scarred by it for the remainder of the half as he snapped over a pair of points to bring his opening tally to 0-3.
Two down at the break, Cork exploded from the second half starting blocks. They rattled off six of the opening eight points that were generated after the interval. That propelled them into an advantage they would not subsequently relinquish.
Limerick, who had Mulcahy as their leading scorer from play with 1-4, pegged them back last August but they could not summon a revival on this occasion.
Waterford are next up for both counties, Limerick are away on 2 June and Cork are at home on 8 June. There’ll be plenty to digest in the interim.
Limerick’s Graeme Mulcahy and Cork’s Mark Ellis in action.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 1-9 (0-6f), Seamus Harnedy, Daniel Kearney 0-4 each, Alan Cadogan 0-3, Luke Meade, Declan Dalton 0-2 each, Conor Lehane, Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-9 (0-8f), Graeme Mulcahy 1-4, Diarmaid Byrnes, Shane Dowling 0-2 (0-2f) each, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey 0-1 each.
1. Anthony Nash (Kanturk)
2. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
3. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas)
4. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons)
5. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers)
6. Mark Ellis (Millstreet)
7. Mark Coleman (Blarney)
8. Bill Cooper (Youghal)
9. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)
10. Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields)
11. Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s – captain)
12. Luke Meade (Newcestown)
13. Conor Lehane (Midleton)
14. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers)
15. Aidan Walsh (Kanturk)
24. Alan Cadogan (Douglas) for Lehane (inj) (6)
17. Stephen McDonnell (Glen Rovers) for O’Donoghue (half-time)
20. Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh) for Downey (52)
23. Shane Kingston (Douglas) for Meade (61)
25. Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neill’s) for Walsh (68)
1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)
2. Sean Finn (Bruff)
3. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
4. Richie English (Doon)
5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare – captain)
7. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)
8. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)
9. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
11. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)
10. Gearóid Hegarty (St Patrick’s)
13. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
14. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
19. Seamus Flanagna (Feohanagh) for Casey (55)
18. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) for Hegarty (56)
21. Barry Murphy (Doon) for Mulcahy (61)
23. William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh) for O’Donovan (61)
17. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for Gillane (66)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)
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