GAA: Cork will face Mayo after putting Connacht county Sligo out
By Pat McLoughlin
Last Updated: 26/07/14 8:28pm
Cork set up an All-Ireland quarter-final against Connacht champions Mayo after an impressive 0-21 to 1-11 win over Sligo in Tullamore.
Left-corner forward Colm O'Neill was the star of the show for the Rebels with a magnificent 10 points, ably assisted by Paul Kerrigan's five points from play.
Sligo full-forward Adrian Marren found his feet in an improved second-half display from the westerners, finishing with five frees and a point from play as the Division Three county failed to live with the scoring clout of top-flight side Cork for the majority of the round four qualifier clash.
The Munster side's formation at the start was the real talking point in this game as Brian Cuthbert’s side lined out with four forwards and flooded every available man back behind the ball when Sligo were in possession.
The two man inside line of Colm O’Neill and Donal Og Hodnett were backed up by Brian Hurley and Kerrigan in the half-forward line, as the Cork management tried to strengthen up a defence that conceded 24 points at home in the Munster final against arch-rvials Kerry.
Mark Breheny kicked the game’s first point for Sligo after three minutes but Cork soon gained a stranglehold on the game and eight points on the spin all but ended hopes for Pat Flanagan's men.
O’Neill benefited from space afforded him to kick Cork’s first score and Kerrigan, another who was outstanding for the Rebels, punched them one point ahead in the seventh minute and two minutes later Hodnett made the most of a great delivery from Hurley.
Frees from Hurley and O’Neill kept extending Cork's advantage before midfielder Ian Maguire capped his championship debut with a fine score – the Rebels' sixth after 20 minutes.
Kerrigan, picked up by Harrison, seemed to have the run of the field and kicked two points in succession as the Cork lead became 0-8 to 0-1 four minutes later.
Marren missed a simple free for Sligo to cut the deficit, but seven minutes from the break he found the target when referee David Gough moved the ball in closer after some Cork dissent.
But O’Neill made sure that the Cork interval lead truly reflected their dominance when he fisted a point and followed it up with a 45 to make their half-time lead 0-10 to 0-2.
Sligo to their credit came out after the restart with a renewed impetus and frees from Marren and Breheny gave them some hope.
Stephen Coen’s fisted goal in the 51st minute put just five points between the sides and when he followed it with a point the gap was down to four.
But Cork finished strongly scores from O’Neill, Kerrigan and dual-star Aidan Walsh's second saw them ease to the win.
Cork: C O'Neill 0-10 (3f, 1’45), P Kerrigan 0-5, A Walsh 0-2 (1f) D Og Hodnett 0-1, B Hurley 0-1 (1f), I Maguire 0-1, D Cahalane
Sligo: A Marren 0-6 (5f), S Coen (1-1), M Breheny 0-3 (2f), C Harrison 0-1