Laois 0-10 Cork 2-12
Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy was much happier with his side’s performance on Saturday evening in O’Moore Park as they had points to spare over Laois.
Having lost to Kildare a week earlier, it’s a result that keeps alive their hopes of reaching the Division 2 semi-finals and in contention for promotion ahead of next Sunday’s trip to Clare.
Goals from Seán White and Ruairí Deane in the first half helped them to a 2-7 to 0-7 lead at the break and they never looked in any real danger of letting it slip.
They now head to Ennis knowing a win will send them through.
“That’s the key one – our destiny is still in our own hands,” said McCarthy afterwards.
“It was an important game, there was a lot of pressure on the match. Having lost our first game, we responded well playing away from home against a team that was well beaten last week so they were always going to come at us.
“I thought we met the challenge well. We played consistently throughout the game than we did last week, probably more effective up front as well. It’s always good to win away from home.
“It would seem a direct head-to-head between ourselves and Clare for the promotion semi-final and they’re a team that have caused us a lot of trouble over the last couple of seasons.
“But that said I think we can see significant improvement in the team from last week and there will be another improvement next week.”
For Laois, who were beaten by Clare in the opening round, manager Mike Quirke was happy with his side's improved energy and effort levels – though not with their shooting.
“I would say it was better than last week. We had 26 shots at the goal, Cork had 20 but we scored 10 points out of 26 shots and therein lies the problem,” he said. “We just didn’t get enough scores from our play.
“I thought we defended really well, got the ball forward really well but we just weren’t clinical enough and they took the two goal chances very well and ultimately we were always chasing that six-point gap.
“Last week we were very disappointed with our performance and our lack of energy and effort but I thought we had an abundance of energy and effort and everybody did everything they could but we weren’t clinical enough when the chances presented themselves.”
Laois had a nightmare start in the opening couple of minutes and never really recovered enough to challenge Cork.
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.
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).