In the opening match on a blazing Sunday in Canton, Cork overcame a two-point halftime deficit and cruised to a nine point victory over Donegal.
The first half was a hard-fought affair between two well-matched sides. Donegal found the net twice, both times through penalties from Christy Mickiellen. The first came on a low ball played inside to the corner forward, who was pulled down after beating his marker to the entry pass.
|Cork's Brendan Turley on the ball. (Photo: Brian Rooney)|
The second came minutes later. Mickiellen again gathered possession and cut back across the face of goal, but as he wound up for a shot a defender stepped in with a foot block. The Donegal man converted from the spot, finishing to the bottom right corner.
As Mickiellen worked at one end of the pitch, Sean O’Donovan was putting on a clinic down the other. The Cork corner forward, who did damage from play and from dead balls, had 1-9 to his name by the time the final whistle blew.
He had six of Cork’s seven points at halftime. The other came from a well-worked score by Emmett Smith, but the Rebels still trailed 2-03 to 0-7 at the break.
|Contested Ball (Photo: Brian Rooney)|
Donegal’s Darren Grant scored points on both sides of an O’Donovan free to open the second half. Then Cork made their move. After a brutal turnover by Donegal’s Mark Dunphy on the Cork 45, the southerners worked the ball downfield until they found Smith and Smith found the back of the net.
Donegal received points from Mickiellen and Grant in the final third, but Cork took advantage of a couple injuries to the green-and-gold men and kept the scoreboard ticking through goals by O’Donovan and Cian Murphy. Cork pulled away at the end to win 3-15 to 2-09.
Mark Farelly, Michael Carolan, Darren O’Donovan, Brendan Turley, Conor Jenkins, Adam Kenny, Jack Lynch, Cormac Clarke, Emmet Smith, Ian o’Callaghan, Seamus Loftus, Adam Ryan, Sean O’Donovan Subs: Declan Harrington, Conor Moynihan, Cian Clifford, Simon Kennedy, Cian Murphy
Pauric McLaughlin, Declan Scott, Paul McNulty, Aidan McLaughlin, Matthew Smith, Darren Doherty, Darren Grant, Mark Dunphy, Ciaran Diver, Rocky Ivers, Ciaran McDevitt, Christy Mickiellen, Ciaran Murphy Subs: Gavin Reilly