Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
Cork 4-25 Offaly 1-15
By Brian Lowry at St Brendan’s Park (from www.gaa.ie)
Cork made it two wins from two in the National league after they eased past Offaly in Birr.
19 points was the winning margin in the end and it was fully deserved. Shane Kingston ruled the roost up front while Offaly had no answer to the power and pace of the Cork running game. Kingston hit 2-8 in a majestic display and further goals from Conor Lehane and Darragh Fitzgibbon all compounded the dominant display.
A crowd of more than 3000 descended on St Brendan’s Park for the tussle but they were treated to a one sided encounter that saw the Rebels show no mercy and keep pushing for scores right up until the final whistle.
Offaly’s struggles back up in the top tier of the league and after last week’s defeat to Galway, they no have a stark view of where things lie.
Cork left the home side in no doubt that they meant business as they led 2-1 to 0-0 after just three minutes.
After Conor Cahalane opened the scoring with a fine point, goals from Shane Kingston and Darragh Fitzgibbon left the Rebels coasting. Robbie O’Flynn then had a goal disallowed for over carrying as Offaly felt the full force of the Cork running game.
Brian Duignan got the home side off the mark on four minutes but it was only a brief relief as Shane Kingston fired points from play and dead balls to leave them 2-5 to 0-2 ahead on 10 minutes.
Two minutes later and Cork had their third goal with Conor Lehane firing a rebound to the back of Conor Clancy’s net after Mark Keane’s effort was originally saved by the Offaly keeper.
Mark Coleman and Kingston pushed the Cork men 3-8 to 0-3 ahead.
Offaly did show some glimpses of class with Eoghan Cahill and Brian Duignan to the fore while a fine John Murphy score got it back to 3-8 to 0-6 after 28 minutes.
Kingston nailed two more frees either side of an Eoghan Cahill point for Offaly before two injury time points from Robbie O’Flynn and Conor Lehane left the Cork men cruising 3-12 to 0-8 at half time.
Mark Coleman and Eoghan Cahill traded scores at the start of the second half but it didn’t take long for Cork to get back into their groove. Two more Kingston frees followed by two fantastic scores from Darragh Fitzgibbon sent the Rebels 3-17 to 0-11 in front.
They showed no signs of letting up either with Patrick Horgan introduced at half time and Jack O’Connor also enterting the fray with 20 minutes to go. Horgan got their 19th point with 15 minutes to go while points from former AFL player Mark Keane and a Kingston free saw them lead 3-21 to 0-13 with 11 minuets to go.
Luke Meade added another point before substitute Colin O’Brien set up Shane Kingston for his second goal of the day with seven minutes left.
Jack O’Connor almost made it five goals but his rasping shot came off the post. Goal chances were the order of the day in the closing stages. Luke O’Connor set up Eoghan Cahill and he sent a rocket past Patrick Collins for an Offaly goal while at the other end, Conor Clancy had to be alert to keep out Patrick Horgan’s low drive.
Late points from Sam Quirke, Tim O’Mahony and Colin O’Brien brought the curtain down on the scoring as Cork eased to a 19 point win.
Scorers for Cork: Shane Kingston 2-8 (0-6 frees), Conor Lehane and Darragh Fitzgibbon 1-2 each, Mark Coleman 0-4 frees, Robbie O’Flynn 0-2, Tim O’Mahony, Luke Meade, Conor Cahalane, Mark Keane, Sam Quirke, Patrick Horgan and Colin O’Brien 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: Eoghan Cahill 1-9 (0-8 frees), John Murphy 0-2, Ben Conneely, Brian Duignan, Jason Sampson and Luke O’Connor 0-1 each.
CORK: Patrick Collins; Niall O’Leary, Damien Cahalane, Sean O’Donoghue; Tim O’Mahony, Mark Coleman, Cormac O’Brien; Darragh Fitzgibbon, Luke Meade; Conor Cahalane, Seamus Harnedy, Robbie O’Flynn; Shane Kingston, Mark Keane, Conor Lehane.
Subs: Sean O’Leary-Hayes for Niall O’Leary (HT), Patrick Horgan for Robbie O’Flynn (ht)Tommy O’Connell for Seamus Harnedy (47), Jack O’Connor for Conor Lehane (50), Sam Quirke for Darragh Fitzgibbon (58), Colin O’Brien for Conor Cahalane (61).
OFFALY: Conor Clancy; Joey Keenaghan, Ciaran Burke, Jack Screeney; David King, Ben Conneely, Killian Sampson; Leon Fox, Eimhin Kelly; John Murphy, Liam Langton, Eoghan Cahill; Jason Sampson, Brian Duignan, David Nally.
Subs: Luke O’Connor for David Nally (HT), Paddy Delaney for Jack Screeney (ht), Eoghan Parlon for Brian Duignan (50), Adrian Cleary for Liam Langton (53), Paddy Clancy for Leon Fox (64).
Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin).