Limerick display ended by Cork goals in Munster Football Championship:

By John Redington Limerick Leader Sport

LIMERICK fell to a 3-13 to 0-11 defeat to Cork in the quarter-final of the Munster Senior Football Championship in SuperValu Pairc Ui Chaoimh this Sunday afternoon.

Two bursts of scores during the second half propelled Cork into a semi-final showdown with Kerry.

Given no chance at all after a blanked-out National League campaign, the visitors gave as good as they got to lead at the break, and, despite being hit by a goal double whammy on the restart, fought themselves back into contention before the Leesiders’ greater strength in depth allowed them to ease home by a margin that flattered them.

Admittedly, Limerick were helped by the elements early on as well as by a number of goal chances missed by Cork but they took to their task with a composure and a belief in their abilities not seen so far this year. With ten minutes to go, they were still in contention, frustrating their opponents who thought they had the result wrapped up not long before and, it was only when fresh legs were being called for that the ravages injury and non-availability had inflicted on the squad finally caught up with them.

As manager Jimmy Lee pointed out in his interview afterwards, the immediate objective is to build on this performance when the Tailteann Cup commences in May and lay the foundations for the squad’s regeneration.

In particular, they’ll be looking to get the most out of their strengths and build up a match-winning rhythm.

On the evidence of this display, the potential is there and the task now is to bring it to fruition.

Although Cork opened within seconds as Matty Taylor pointed on the run, James Naugthon replied immediately for the visitors but they then rode their luck when Paul Walsh passed across the goalmouth only for Brian Hurley to fist straight into the hands of Josh Ryan. Making most of their escape, Emmet Rigter then gave them the lead and, despite it being met by Chris Óg Jones, Naughton had them back ahead off a ’45’.

Another Rebel goal chance went abegging when Walsh collected off Conor Corbett only for his close-range shot go inches wide before a Rebel kickout was turned over for Bob Childs to put Limerick two ahead.

By this stage, however, Cork were getting to grips with gale blowing into their faces as Brian Hurley replied and, after Ryan blocked a Brian O’Driscoll shot on goal, Hurley’s free equalised and full-back Daniel O’Mahony’s fisted score saw the lead change hands.

It should have been the signal for them to move on but Limerick refused to lie down and, using the breeze to get within range, Bryan Nix, Naughton’s ’45’ and Peter Nash’s free had them ahead again.

However, they then lost Cathal Downes to a black card and the extra man allowed Luke Fahy to strike back going into injury time and reducing Limerick’s lead to 0-7 to 0-6.

Twenty seconds into the second period, Jones’s fist levelled the scores and was followed quickly by O’Driscoll and Hurley’s free.

As Limerick holding onto possession in order to wind down the black card, a misdirected pass allowed a long delivery to Jones who shot to the net before the furiously back-pedalling had fully composed himself on his line and was then followed by Taylor and Hurley’s free before a long Rigter strike broke the home side’s streak of scores.

The intensity dropped as both sides sent in the subs and Limerick retained enough focus for Shane Costello’s mark and Tommy Childs to reduce the deficit to four but that was as close as it got.

Rediscovering their shape, the Leesiders moved up a gear, saw Jones’s shot on goal stopped by Ryan only for Ruairí Deane to climb high and fist the rebound to the net, Conor Corbett to point from distance and Ian Maguire to batter his way through the defence for a spectacular third goal.

Coming up to the whistle, Naughton replied with a free but that was met in kind by Steven Sherlock from all of 50 metres.

SCORERS, CORK: Chris Óg Jones 1-2, Brian Hurley 0-4 (3 frees), Ruairí Deane, Ian Maguire 1-0 each, Luke Fahy 0-2, Matty Taylor, Daniel O’Mahony, Brian O’Driscoll, Conor Corbett, Steven Sherlock (free) 0-1 each. LIMERICK: J Naughton 0-4, (1free, 2 ’45s), E Rigter 0-2; T Childs, B Nix, P Nash (free), B Childs, S Costello 0-1 each.

CORK: Christopher Kelly; Kevin Flahive, Donal O’Mahony, Tommy Walsh; Luke Fahy, Seán Meehan, Matty Taylor; Ian Maguire, Colm O’Callaghan; Paul Walsh, Seán Powter, Brian O’Driscoll; Chris Óg Jones, Conor Corbett, Brian Hurley. SUBS: Ruairí Deane for Paul Walsh (46 minutes), Maurice Shanley for Seán Meehan (48 minutes), Steven Sherlock for Brian Hurley (51 minutes), Mark Cronin for Seán Powter (57 minutes), John O’Rourke for Brian O’Driscoll (65 minutes).

LIMERICK: Josh Ryan; Darren O’Doherty, Sean O’Dea, Brian O’Sullivan; Cormac Woulfe, Cillian Fahy, Paul Maher; Tommy Childs, Emmet Rigter; Bryan Nix, Cathal Downes, James Naughton; Peter Nash, Bob Childs, Danny Neville. SUBS: Barry Coleman for Cormac Woulfe (54 minutes), Jamie Baynham for Peter Nash (59 minutes), Shane Costello for Cathal Downes (54 minutes), Tommy Griffin for Bryan Nix (68 minutes), Ruadhán O’Connor for Brian O’Sullivan (68 minutes).

REFEREE: Fergal Kelly (Longford).