Corkery gives Cork the edge

 

CORK'S solid experience coupled with the accuracy of Colm Corkery provided the springboard at the Athletic grounds, Armagh, for their leap into the quarter-finals. The fluency and cohesion of the visitors, however, shared the billing with Armagh's commitment and honest endeavour in a match that provided flair and farce.

If the flair came from Armagh's early enterprise it was they also who produced the farce when a dreadful defensive misunderstanding led to Cork's first goal within 23 seconds of the re-start. As the ball bobbled into Mark O'Sullivan's path, he gratefully poked it into the corner of the net.

It was a timely boost for Cork but a catastrophe to Armagh who had led 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time with Ger Houlihan, Cathal O'Rourke, Kieran McGeeney, Diarmuid Marsden and Martin Toye contributing to their total.

But just as he had done at the start of the match, Corkery was to inflict serious wounds on Armagh's, moral. His opening brace of points were followed by others from Joe Kavanagh and O'Sullivan but after he had scored his third before the break, Corkery moved into overdrive.

Not only did he prove the ideal target man but he landed two points from frees to stabilise Cork when Armagh's passion and fire threatened to undermine the visitors' strategy.

Even the loss of left full-back Brian Murphy through injury failed to disrupt Cork's defensive resources but they lived dangerously and first Marsden and then" McCabe, followed by O'Rourke, hoisted over points to leave their side one point in front with nine minutes left. Liam Honan's imposing presence at midfield proved the bulwark of Cork's late surge and when an Armagh free kick went straight to opposition hands, the ball was quickly whisked to the opposite end of the field when Stephen O'Brien was bowled over Corkery was the essence of coo'ness as the slammed the penalty past Mark Campbell.

It was the point of no return for Armagh. Try as they did in the closing stages - and they garnered points through Marsden and O'Rourke - their best efforts were suffocated by Cork's tight marking and clever interceptions.