230 DAYS LATER and it was time for the footballers of Cork and Louth to get stuck into league business once more.
How much further they will progress in their campaigns remains as shrouded in doubt for them as the rest of the GAA country but this afternoon at least settled something when the activity resumed.
Cork clinched promotion with their sixth straight win, Louth suffered relegation after their sixth straight loss. That was the upshot of a Saturday October encounter amidst a wintery backdrop in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. It was a miserable afternoon for Louth. Sam Mulroy’s point kicking was great to observe as he finished with 0-11, largely from frees, but they lost three players to dismissals in the second half as their discipline collapsed.
Fergal Donohoe and Patrick Reilly both saw yellow for the second time while Emmet Carolan was shown a straight red late on.
Ronan McCarthy watched his side display a penchant for goal scoring which laid the foundations for this success. They had a momentary wobble at the start when shipping two points and seeing Louth dictate the play but then Cork took control.
They had raised five green flags by the finish with their longest-serving campaigner Paul Kerrigan firing home a brace. Ian Maguire, Mark Collins and Colm O’Callaghan, a newcomer fresh off the U20 success in 2019, also supplied goals. Collins scored 1-5 after coming off the bench.
Cork went about the business of settling this issue in the first half, putting three goals on the board in a 15-minute spell. O’Callaghan hooked home a left-foot shot for the first, Maguire palmed in the second over the head of goalkeeper Bevan Duffy and Kerrigan blasted home the third.
There was a recurring theme to the moves, patient interplay around the middle and then a powerful runner to blast a hole in the Louth rearguard. Several players got in on the creative act with Kerrigan laying on the final pass for the opening two goals while Paul Walsh was instrumental in the attacking endeavour as well. He kicked two first-half points while Killian O’Hanlon chipped in with three.
It was 3-6 to 0-3 in Cork’s favour by the 23rd minute, they could rest on a ten-point cushion by the break. The timing of the second-half goals, Kerrigan in the 39th minute and Collins in the 54th minute, knocked Louth back in their stride anytime the built up a little momentum through the scores from Mulroy and a few from Tommy Durnin.
Despite being hit with the setback of witnessing those players dismissed, Louth kept pushing on with Conall McKeever rattling one shot off the bar and Conor Whelan smashing another againt the woodwork. The goal for their afternoon toil never came, Cork winning with plenty to spare and both sides looking ahead in the same uncertain fashion as everyone else.
Scorers for Cork: Mark Collins 1-5 (0-4f), Paul Kerrigan 2-1, Killian O’Hanlon 0-4 (0-1f), Colm O’Callaghan 1-1, Ian Maguire 1-0, Kevin O’Donovan, Paul Walsh, Damien Gore 0-2 each, Ruairi Deane, Eoghan McSweeney 0-1 each.
of the team
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Scorers for Louth: Sam Mulroy 0-11 (0-10f, 0-1 mark), Tommy Durnin 0-3, Anthony Williams, Conor Whelan 0-1 each.
1. Micheál Martin (Nemo Rangers)
2. Kevin Flahive (Douglas)
3. Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty)
4. Paul Ring (Aghabullogue)
5. Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers)
6. Mattie Taylor (Mallow)
7. Cian Kiely (Ballincollig)
8. Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s – captain)
9. Paul Walsh (Kanturk)
10. Ruairí Deane (Bantry Blues)
11. Killian O’Hanlon (Kilshannig)
12. Kevin O’Driscoll (Tadhg McCarthaigh)
13. Damien Gore (Kilmacabea)
14. Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg)
15. Paul Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers)
18. Nathan Walsh (Douglas) for Ring (42)
26. Mark Collins (Castlehaven) for Kerrigan (46)
24. Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree) for O’Driscoll (51)
23. Niall Hartnett (Douglas) for Walsh (57)
21. Sean Meehan (Kiskeam) for O’Hanlon (60)
1. Craig Lynch
2. Dan Corcoran
3. Bevan Duffy
4. Kevin Carr
5. Fergal Donohoe
6. Emmet Carolan
7. Anthony Williams
8. Tommy Durnin
9. Liam Jackson
12. Conall McKeever
11. Robbie Curran
10. Conor Early
13. Patrick Reilly
14. Sam Mulroy
15. Ryan Burns
25. Ciaran Keenan for Curran (half-time)
19. John Cluttercuck for Carr (45)
23. Conor Whelan for Burns (51)
21. Gerry Garland for McKeever (62)
Referee: Seamus Mulhare (Laois)