Cork charged into their sixth All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final in seven years with a resounding 2-19 to 0-12 win over Kildare at Croke Park.
An Eoin Doyle own-goal and a Colm O’Neill strike had Cork eight points ahead, but two points each from Alan Smith and Johnny Doyle led a Kildare recovery.
Cork led by 2-5 to 0-8 at the interval, and playing against 14 men after Eoin Doyle’s second booking, they ran riot in the final quarter, with Aidan Walsh, Paul Kerrigan, Pearse O’Neill and Donncha O’Connor all on target.
In an error-ridden opening, both teams were fortunate to escape greater punishment for unforced errors.
Kildare were particularly guilty, with Rob Kelly gifting Paudie Kissane an opening Cork point.
Kelly had earlier eased the Lilywhites into a two points lead, but Aidan Walsh and Donncha O’Connor powered placed ball firmly between the posts
And it all went wrong for the Leinster men in a disastrous three minute period at the end of the opening quarter, when they conceded two bad goals.
Paul Kerrigan’s snapshot brought a superb save from Shane Connolly, but the ball cannoned off defender Eoin Doyle and into the net.
And in the 18th minute, O’Connor and Colm O’Neill both got in behind a slack Kildare defence to exchange passes, with the latter palming to the net for an eight points lead.
But that was to be Cork’s final score of the half. Kildare, strung into action by the double setback, started to play with conviction and finally succeeded in eradicating elementary mistakes.
Daryl Flynn came of the bench to help them swing the midfield battle, and they fired over five points on the spin to get themselves back in the game.
Target man Tomas O’Connor was a central figure, as Alan Smith steered over two points, Johnny Doyle nailed his second and corner back Hugh McGrillen hit the target to reduce the deficit to three points, Cork ahead by 2-5 to 0-8 at the break.
The Rebels went 22 minutes without a score until Graham canty;’s break set up substitute Daniel Goulding for a 43rd minute point.
Their defending had improved markedly, and after O’Connor extended the lead, Paul Kerrigan was denied by another wonderful save from Connolly.
But the Munster champions were now running strongly at the Kildare defence, and midfielder Walsh powered through the middle to thump over a point that had tem seven clear by the 49th minute.
Kildare were reduced to 14 men in the 52nd minute when Eoin Doyle picked up a second yellow card, and there was no way back
The Cork attacks were coming from all angles, but particularly through the middle, where Walsh and Pearse O’Neill were immense figures.
Cork scored at will, with Walsh, Colm O’Neill, Pearse O’Neill, Goulding and Kerrigan all chalking up impressive scores.
Kildare went 25 minutes of the second half without managing to score, but did pull back late points through Smith, Johnny Doyle and substitute Derot Earley, but they represented nothing more than damage limitation.
Cork scorers: C O’Neill 1-3 (0-2f), E Doyle o.g., D O’Connor 0-4 (1f, 2 ’45), A Walsh 0-3 (1f), P Kerrigan, D Goulding, P O’Neill, P Kissane 0-2 each, F Goold 0-1.
Kildare scorers: A Smith 0-4 (1f), J Doyle 0-3 (1f), H McGrillen, R Kelly, E O’Flaherty (f), M Conway (f), D Earley 0-1 each.
Kildare: S Connolly, O Lyons, P Kelly, H McGrillen, E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, E Doyle, M Foley, R Kelly, E O’Flaherty, M Conway, A Smith, J Doyle, T O’Connor, J Cavanagh.
Subs: D Flynn for Kelly, P O’Neill for Foley, F Dowling for Conway, S Johnston for E O’Flaherty, D Earley for O’Connor
Cork: A Quirke, R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan, P Kissane, G Canty, N O’Leary, A O’Connor, A Walsh, F Goold, C Sheehan, P Kerrigan, C O’Neill, D O'Connor, N Murphy.
Subs: P Kelly for Sheehan, P O’Neill for A O’Connor, D Goulding for Murphy, J O’Sullivan for Carey, D O’Sullivan for Canty
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).