Linden emerges as top dog

 

There were two contenders for top entertainer in this lively league encounter at Newcastle. One, unsurprisingly, was Mickey Linden. Not only did Micky's return inspire his younger colleagues to their best performance of the year, but the Mayobridge veteran embellished this game with most of its best moments, including three exquisite points from play, mastering direct opponents of the calibre of Stephen O'Brien and BBrian Corcoran in the process The other was an enterprising collie dog, who gambolled about the pitch for 29 minutes of the first half, often displaying a degree of ball control which was the envy of some of the players, and even putting in some of the more incisive tackles of a laid-back first half.

Cork certainly could have done at half time with a couple of pints of whatever this dog had been having, for this was leaden performance by the Leesiders.

They had flattered to deceive in the opening quarter, leading 1-1 to 0-2 on the back of a couple of fleet counterattacks, one of which found Joe Kavanagh in the right spot to gather a shot from Ciaran O'Sullivan which came back down off the upright and left him unhassled as he hammered a drive passed Mickey McVeigh.

But that was the last we were to see of Cork. Mickey Linden set home spirits soaring with a glorious point from out on the touch line, and the much hungrier home side swarmed all over the visitors from there on. Down led 0-7 to 11 at half time; The goals which really killed the contest arrived early in the second half.

This was a most heartening performance for Pete McGrath, who saw younger players, like Shane Ward, Gerrard Deegan, Gavin Murdoch and Malachy McMurray, respond splendidly to the example set by senior men such us Mickey Linden, Conor Deegan and Michal Magill.

For Cork, only Jo Kavanagh, Aidan Dorgan and Nicholas Murphy justified the high reputations with which they had made the long journey north.

Down: M McVeigh; M McEvoy, B Burns, S McMahon (1-0); F Caulfield, M Magill, M McMurray; C Deegan, S Poland (0-1); G McMahon (0-1), G Murdoch (0-4), P Sloan; S Ward (0-1), M Linden (0-3), G Deegan (0-3). Sub: J McAlinden for M Linden.

Cork: P Mackey; B Collins, S O'Brien, S Og O Hailpin; M Cronin, B Corcoran, N Cahalane; P Hegarty, N Murphy; C O'Sullivan, S Dineen, O O'Sullivan; C Crowley, J Kavanagh (1-2), A Dorgan. Subs: M Harrington for S Dineen; F Collins for O O'Sullivan.

Referee: S Harlin (Meath).