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Rebels raise game to see off Laois bid


CORK threw themselves an Allianz NFL Division 2 lifeline as they got the better of Laois in MW Hire O’Moore Park last night.

Ronan McCarthy’s charges needed a win after losing to Kildare in the opening round, and first-half goals from Sean White and Ruairi Deane set them on their way.

They deserved the win too on the balance of play, punishing Laois mistakes to get themselves ahead and managing the game well once they had the advantage.

For Laois, a relegation battle now awaits in this abridged NFL season.

They were at least improved from the insipid showing against Clare last time out, but they never carried enough of a threat in attack to put themselves in a winning position here, scoring just one point from play in the second half. That will have to improve, quickly.

Laois could hardly have asked for a worst start, as they lost a key player to injury and conceded a goal inside of two minutes. Colm Begley was forced off the field with a little over 60 seconds played, leaving his team a man down until they could ready a replacement. Cork took full advantage of their brief advantage, working the ball down field before Luke Connolly’s clever through-ball set Sean White up for a goal.

Cíaran Sheehan added a point for the visitors soon after, claiming a wonderful mark from Ian Maguire’s pass and tapping over from close range.

It took Laois a while to settle. After eight minutes  Donie Kingston won and scored a close range free. Cork replied instantly, John O’Rourke fisting over from close range after another long pass from the Rebels, a notable trait of their play in the opening half.

Laois in contrast were slower in their build-up play, but finally began to rectify that midway through the half. Brian Byrne got their second score from 20 yards out before repeating the trick moments later after an incisive passing move. Danny O’Reilly then made it three in three minutes for the hosts with a fine individual effort, the gap now down to one.

For Laois, that was as good as the first half got.

Ian Maguire and Kevin O’Driscoll pointed for Cork in the minute before the water break, and they pounced for their second goal soon after. A sloppy pass in the Laois defence was hoovered up by Cork, Ruairi Deane winning possession and dummying his way in on goal before finding the bottom corner.

Fortunes

That was the highlight of a pedestrian second quarter, Cork controlling things to the break to lead 2-7 to 0-7 at the changeover.

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If Laois were hoping for an immediate upturn in their fortunes they were to be disappointed, even if Niall Corbet’s 45 gave them the opening score of the half. Cork replied soon after, winning a breaking ball in their own penalty area after Paul Kingston’s shot for goal was saved, working the ball quickly down field and pointing through Ian Maguire.

The same scenario repeated itself three minutes later, Evan O’Carroll saw a shot blocked and Cork broke at speed, John O’Rourke the scorer this time. The only other action of note in this period came when Luke Connolly’s shot for Cork missed the target in the 46th minute, the first wide they registered in the game.

Niall Corbet again came up from between the posts to float over a 45 for Laois with Danny O’Reilly adding another for the home side before the water break to see them within five heading into the final quarter.

They would never get closer than that though, failing to score again as Cork tacked on three more points through subs Mark Collins (two frees) and Shane Forde to run out comfortable eight- point winners in the end. Clare await them next weekend, while Laois meet neighbours Kildare.

SCORERS: Laois – D Kingston 0-3f, D O’Reilly, B Byrne, N Corbet (45s) 0-2 each, K Lillis 0-1.

Cork – S White, R Deane 1-0 each, J O’Rourke, C Sheehan (1m), I Maguire, M Collins (2f) 0-2 each, K O’Driscoll, L Connolly, M Taylor, S Forde 0-1 each.

 LAOIS: N Corbet; R Pigott, M Timmons, G Dillon; T Collins, P O’Sullivan, C Begley; K Lillis, J O’Loughlin; Brian Byrne, E Lowry, D O’Reilly; P Kingston, D Kingston, E O’Carroll. Subs: A Farrell for Begley (2, inj), M Barry for O’Carroll (51), G Walsh for D Kingston (52), M Keogh for Lowry (60), E Buggie for O’Sullivan (60), S O’Flynn for Byrne (66), B Carroll for P Kingston (66).

CORK: M Martin; S Powter, D O’Mahoney, K Flahive; K O’Donovan, S Meehan, M Taylor; I Maguire, P Walsh; S White, R Deane, K O’Driscoll; J O’Rourke, C Sheehan, L Connolly. Subs: D Gore for Connolly (51), C O’Callaghan for Sheehan (53), M Collins for White (53), T Corkery for O’Donovan (58), C Kiely for Taylor (59), D Dineen for O’Rourke (64), S Forde for Powter (64).

Referee: B Judge (Sligo)

 

laois 0-10

cork 2-12

 

 

 

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