Laois 0-10 Cork 2-12
The Cork footballers got a badly-needed win in O’Moore Park on Saturday night when two first-half goals set them on their way to a comfortable win over Laois.
Having lost last year’s Munster final to Tipperary and their opening league game to Kildare last week, they travelled to Portlaoise under pressure and with an instant return to Division 3 a real concern.
To their credit, Cork duly did what they had to here, without ever being overly impressive.
First-half goals from Seán White and Ruairí Deane made the difference as Laois endured a disastrous start and never recovered.
In total 11 different Cork players put their name on the scoresheet and they looked to be moving well throughout, though it wasn’t a performance to get overly excited about.
They still need to beat Clare in Ennis next Sunday to avoid a relegation playoff but for now they’ll be glad to have a win to their name again.
The home side, who had been desperately poor against Clare six days earlier, had a nightmare in the opening couple of minutes.
They missed a couple of early chances, lost experienced centre back Colm Begley to injury after just a minute and conceded an early goal to White after swift build-up play and a nice pass from Luke Connolly.
It was a lead Cork would hold for the remainder of the game.
Ciarán Sheehan and John O'Rourke pointed either side of a Donie Kingston free but two fine points from play from the lively Brian Byrne and one from his Graiguecullen club-mate Danny O'Reilly had the gap back to one.
But Paul Walsh and Kevin O’Driscoll responded for Cork and they led 1-4 to 0-4 at the water break.
The second goal arrived on 20 minutes and took any real mystery out of the game.
Coming out of defence, Gareth Dillon misplaced a pass to Mark Timmons and Cork countered with Deane blasting through for the game's second goal.
Cork led 2-7 to 0-7 at half-time and Laois never looked like closing the gap in the second half.
They got within five points and had a couple of chances to get a bit closer but Cork always had the upper hand and late points from subs Mark Collins and Shane Forde ensured they had eight points to spare at the final whistle.
For Laois, their league campaign is now about survival. A home clash with Kildare is next up but their main battle will come next month when they face one of the bottom teams from the other side of Division 2.
LAOIS: N Corbett (0-2, two 45s); G Dillon, M Timmons, R Pigott; T Collins, C Begley, P O'Sullivan; K Lillis (0-1), J O'Loughlin; B Byrne (0-2), E Lowry, D O'Reilly (0-2); P Kingston, D Kingston (0-3, three frees), E O'Carroll.
Subs: A Farrell for Begley (1 min, inj), M Barry for O'Carroll (50), G Walsh for D Kingston (51), E Buggie for O'Sullivan, M Keogh for Lowry (both 60), B Carroll for P Kingston, S O'Flynn for Byrne ( both 66)
CORK: M Martin; K Flahive, D O'Mahoney, K O'Donovan; S Meehan, S Powter, M Taylor (0-1); I Maguire (0-1), P Walsh (0-1); S White (1-0), R Deane (1-0), K O'Driscoll (0-1); J O'Rourke (0-2), C Sheehan (0-2, one mark), L Connolly (0-1).
Subs: D Gore for Connolly (50 mins), M Collins (0-2, two frees) for Sheehan, C O'Callaghan for White (both 51), T Corkery for O'Donovan, C Keely for Taylor (both 56), S Forde (0-1) for Powter, D Dineen for O'Rourke (both 63)
Referee: B Judge (Sligo).