Cork 3-18 Limerick 0-6
Cork parked their league relegation woes to produce an unexpected 21-point thrashing of Limerick in a one-sided Munster football semi-final at a wet Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.
Coach Ronan McCarthy gladly accepted the result. “I didn’t see this coming even though we were quietly confident ourselves,” he said.
The visitors travelled with a degree of hope following their big win over Tipperary, but Cork blitzed them with three goals inside the opening 12 minutes to effectively end the match as a contest.
The home side registered 3-7 by the time Séamus O’Carroll opened Limerick’s account after 26 minutes. At that stage all six Cork forwards had scored from play.
Cork stunned their opponents with their goal barrage after Limerick almost grabbed a sensational goal themselves from the throw-in. Tommie Childs picked out Seán McSweeney, whose shot hit the post, rebounded off the body ofgoalkeeper Mark White and onto the crossbar before Cork scrambled the ball clear.
And they made the most of their narrow escape by ripping the Limerick defence apart with a couple of quick-fire goals.
Brian Hurley grabbed the first of his pair in the fourth minute following a Ruairi Deane pass and the duo also linked for the second goal 90 seconds later.
Limerick were shellshocked by Cork’s third in the 13th minute, when Deane soloed through for a magnificent individual score to make it 3-4 to 0-0.
And it could have been even worse for Limerick because an upright denied Hurley a hat-trick from a penalty just before the interval and goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan batted away another Deane piledrvier.
At 3-8 to 0-2 ahead, Cork simply went through the motions in the second-half as both sides emptied their benches.
Mark Collins kicked four points on the spin as debutant Eoghan McSweeney, captain Ian Maguire, wing-back Mattie Taylor and substitute Stephen Sherlock kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The only slight concern for Cork was the withdrawal through injury of Hurley during the second half, but it’s not likely to keep him out of the final in three weeks.
CORK: M White; N Walsh, J Loughrey, K Flahive; L O'Donovan, T Clancy, M Taylor (0-2); I Maguire (capt, 0-1), K O'Hanlon; E McSweeney (0-3), R Deane (1-0), J O'Rourke (0-1); P Kerrigan (0-1), B Hurley (2-0), M Collins (0-9, five frees).
Subs: A Browne for Loughrey (39 mins), S Sherlock (0-1) for Hurley (45, inj), L Connolly for O'Rourke (46), K O'Driscoll for Deane (51), K O'Donovan for Clancy (57), R O'Toole for Maguire (60). Yellow card: K O'Driscoll
LIMERICK: D O'Sullivan (0-3, two 45s, one free); B Fanning, S O'Dea, P Maher; C McSweeney, I Corbett, G Brown; D Treacy, T Childs; A Enright, C Fahy, M Fitzgibbon; S McSweeney, S O'Carroll (0-2), J Lee (0-1, free).
Subs: J Naughton for S McSweeney, T McCarthy for Brown and P Nash for Enright (all h/t), P de Brun for Fahy (45 mins), G Noonan for C McSweeney (55), R Lynch for Fitzgibbon (56). Yellow cards: T Childs, M Fitzgibbon, S O'Carroll, P Nash.
Referee: B Cawley (Kildare).