Cork have too much class for Sligo

Rebels will meet Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-final next Sunday after seven-point win

 Sligo’s Stephen Coen and Mark Breheny track Cork’s James Loughrey in Tullamore.  Photograph: James Crombie / Inpho

Sligo’s Stephen Coen and Mark Breheny track Cork’s James Loughrey in Tullamore. Photograph: James Crombie / Inpho


Cork 0-21 Sligo 1-11

Cork dominated Sligo from start to finish to set up an intriguing All-Ireland football quarter-final with Mayo next Sunday.

Ten points form Colm O’Neill and five from play from Paul Kerrigan saw Cork over the line, and after trying out a hugely defensive set-up in preparation for facing Mayo, Brian Cuthbert will be happy.

The Cork formation at the start was the real talking point in this game as Cuthbert’s side lined out with four forwards and flooded every available man back behind the ball when Sligo were in possession.

The two man inside line of Colm O’Neill and Donal Óg Hodnett were backed up by Brian Hurley and Kerrigan in the half-forward line, as the Cork management tried to strengthen up a defence that conceded 24 points in the Munster final against Kerry.

In the initial exchanges, Sligo looked busy and intent on challenging their Division One opponents.

It came as no surprise when Mark Breheny kicked the game’s first point after three minutes but Cork soon gained a stranglehold on the game and eight points on the spin all but ended Sligo’s hopes.

The four-man forward line of Cork meant they had plenty of space to run into when the ball was presented and O’Neill benefited from that room to kick Cork’s first score.

Kerrigan, who was outstanding for the Rebels, punched them one point ahead in the seventh minute and two minutes later Hodnett made the most of a great delivery from Hurley.

Despite the best efforts of Charlie Harrison and Brian Curran on the front foot, the Cork dominance continued and after frees from Hurley and O’Neill, midfielder Ian Maguire capped his championship debut with a fine score – Cork’s sixth.

Kerrigan, who was picked up by Harrison, seemed to have the run of the field and kicked two points in succession as the Cork lead became 0-8 to 0-1 after 24 minutes.

Marren missed a simple free for Sligo to cut the deficit, but seven minutes from the break he found the target when referee David Gough moved the ball in closer after some Cork dissent.

But O’Neill made sure that the Cork interval lead truly reflected their dominance when he fisted a point and followed it up with a 45 to make their half-time lead 0-10 to 0-2.

Sligo to their credit came out after the restart with a renewed impetus and frees from Marren and Mark Breheny gave them some hope.

Stephen Coen’s fisted goal in the 51st minute put just five points between the sides and when he followed it with a point the gap was down to four.

But Cork finished strongly scores from O’Neill, Kerrigan and Aidan Walsh saw they ease to the win.

Cork: K O’Halloran; J Loughrey, E Cadagon, N Galvin; M Shields, T Clancy, B O’Driscoll; I Maguire (0-1), A Walsh (0-2, 1f); P Kerrigan (0-5), M Collins, C O’Driscoll; C O’Neill (0-10, 3f, 1’45), B Hurley (0-1, 1f), D Óg Hodnett (0-1).

Subs: F Goold for Maguire (46 mins), D Cahalane (0-1) for Clancy (51 mins), D Goulding for Hodnett (57 mins), J O’Rourke for O’Driscoll (61 mins), T Clancy for B O’Driscoll (66 mins), J Dineen for Walsh (69 mins),

Sligo: A Devaney; K Cawley, R Donovan, N Ewing; C Harrison (0-1), B Egan, B Curran; A McIntyre, K McDonnell; P Hughes, M Breheny (0-3, 2f), J Kilcullen; S Coen (1-1), A Marren (0-6, 1f), D Kelly.

Subs: J Hynes for Kelly (42 mins), S McManus for Kilcullen (64 mins), E McHugh for Curran (70 mins), C Griffin for Coen (70 mins).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).

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