Cork: O’Halloran; Cadogan; Shields; Carey (F. Lynch); O’Driscoll (0-1, O’Flynn); Kissane; O’Sullivan; Walsh; A. O’Connor; Goold (0-2); Kelly (1-1); P. O’Neill (o-5); Goulding (0-4; 0-3f, C. O’Neill 0-1); Sheehan; D. O’Connor (0-1).
Monaghan: Keogh; K. Duffy; Darren Hughes; Walsh; McAdam (Wylie); Mone; David Hughes; McKenna (Lennon); Clerkin (0-2); Doogan; O. Duffy (1-3, Freeman); Turley (Downey); McManus (0-1f); Finlay (0-3, 0-2f, Corey); McGuinness (0-1).
Cork returned to winning ways with a decent performance against an impressive Monaghan team. Just one change to the defence – Cadogan in for Jamie O’Sullivan – made a huge difference to the team’s overall performance, Cork conceeding only one goal and generally looking tight at the back for the whole of the gameugh Conor Counihan commenting after the game that things like blocking and closing down players quicker could have been improved on. Moreover, as Monaghan played with a two man full-forward line, Cadogan played more as a half-back and tormented Monaghan all day with his one man runs up the pitch. Yesterday Cadogan capped a MOTM performance and made it crystal clear as to why he is a superior footballer to hurler – his lung busting runs show him to be one of the fittest and most athletic players in the country, he is far more comfortable on the ball in football then in hurling and almost every good move and score Cork made yesterday (particularly in the first half) Cadogan began from the Cork half-back line.
Besides Cadogan, Pearse O’Neill, Fintan Goold and Aidan Walsh also stood out. O’Neill was highly clinical in front of goal, picking over loose ball and slotting over five points from play. Goold similarly showed well, particularly in the first half where he put two points over, moved the ball on well in possession and was his usually hard-working off the ball. Aidan Walsh, despite being sloppy with the ball at times, once again fielded some huge balls from kick-outs and surged forward well on a number of occasions. Both of our rookie half-backs were solid and deserve more games while the subs that came were largely excellent, although Paul O’Flynn at hafl-back and Fiachra Lynch at corner-back particularly stood out.
Possibly the most disapointing performances of the display came from the inside forward line. Sheehan workedand ran hard but was understandably rusty and scuppered a number of scoring opportuinities, although his power and strength were as always obvious to all. Goulding and O’Connor struggled to get involved, the Monaghan defence doing brilliantly throughout to close down space in front of both players. Alan O’Connor again struggled to make an impression on the match from midfield, Walsh making the big catches and runs forward. Kissane again struggled at center-back, his man doing huge damage from play and hitting Monaghan’s only goal.
One has to finally mention that Monaghan were quite impressive. The spine of their defence was excellent, although Darren Hughes at full-back stood out in particular, getting his body between man and ball constantly and reading the game perfectly throughout. Up front their forwards were considerably more clinical then ours, doing with more meagre chances. From one to fifteen they were a well drilled, fit and physical side that did better then most teams will do against in Cork, and may be worth a punt on to win Ulster, especially considering Armagh and Tyrone’s woes. As for Cork, another decent performance and a good win against stiff opposition.