Cork recorded their second win in the Allianz Football League Division 2 after a comprehensive win over plucky underdogs Louth in their second home of Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday afternoon.
Winless Louth took on a Cork side that made six changes from the team that beat Down last weekend. This influx affected every line in the Cork team, but the disruption certainly didn’t show as the replacements slotted in seamlessly.
One these changes Michael Hurley, especially blossomed, the powerful forward came in on the forty and linked up telepathically at times with his Castlehaven club mate Mark Collins in the corner.
However, it was the sheer directness of his running that Louth couldn’t handle. He fired over the opening score and created free’s for which Collins and Colm O’Neill benefited scoring five of their 1-09 first-half total.
The Wee County spurned three first-half goal chances but Ryan Burns did keep Louth in distant touch with three scores from dead balls, but a Sean White goal and point in quick succession in the 22nd minute gave the wintery game a cold feel of what the outcome was going to be.
The second half was a more scrappy affair as Kevin O’Driscoll and replacement Peter Kelleher both received red cards in the 48th and 66th minutes.
The shape then belonged to the Wee County as they spirited a rally emptying the bench in the process. One of the substitutes William Woods nailed three second-half frees as Cork completely took their foot off the gas.
The Munster side went 20-plus minutes without a score when Cian Kiely found the net in injury time after midfielder Ruairí Deane’s point in the 50th minute.
Despite second-half failings, Ronan McCarthy now has Cork playing with a pep in their step while the ascent of back-to-back promotions may have landed Pete McGrath's Louth in too thin of air as they are struggling to compete with the counties above them.
Cork: Ryan Price;Sam Ryan, Jamie O’Sullivan,Sean Wilson;Tomás Clancy, Conor Dorman,Cian Kiely(1-01); Ian Maguire, Ruairí Deane (0-01); Sean White (1-01), Michael Hurley(0-01), Kevin O’Driscoll; Mark Collins (0-03, 2f) Colm O’Neill (0-04, 3f), Stephen Sherlock.
Subs used: Matthew Taylor for Stephen Sherlock (HT) Daniel O’Callaghan for S White (51) Dylan Quinn for C Dorman (59) Peter Kelleher for M Hurley (59) Cian Dorgan for I Maguire (65) Padraig Clancy for S Wilson (68).
Louth: Craig Lynch; John Bingham, Emmet Carolan, Fergal Donohoe;Darren Marks, James Stewart, Anthony Williams; Tommy Durnin, Bevan Duffy(0-1); Ciaran Downey, Andy McDonnell (0-1),Jim McEneaney; Derek Maguire, Conor Grimes, Ryan Burns (0-4, 3f 145).
Subs Used: Eoghan Lafferty for D Marks (HT), Tommy Durnin for J McEneaney (HT) Gerard McSorley (0-1) for C Early (52), William Woods (0-3, 3f) for R Burns (52), James Craven for J Bingham (52) Tadhg McEneaney for Conor Grimes (58).
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).