Cork 2-17 Kilkenny 0-9
AN impressive display from a focused Cork as they totally outclassed their great rivals on Sunday.
This Kilkenny side were battling to keep their hopes of remaining in the Littlewoods Division 1 league alive in Páirc Uí Rinn. Instead the Rebels closed in on a berth in the decider, with Tipperary already qualified for the first time in 11 years by virtue of a win over Galway at the weekend.
In all sectors Cork were on top and while Kilkenny’s tactics of crowding around the middle did little to upset Cork to a degree, once they took control on proceedings from the early stages.
Orla Cronin is proving to be one of the leaders of this young Cork outfit. In superb form, as she contributed nine points over the hour.
Team captain Amy O’Connor's pace caused a lot of problems for an over-worked Kilkenny defense whilst Aisling Thompson turned in another good display around the middle winning good ball and off loading smartly to the inside lines.
Paudie Murray continued the policy of bringing along the younger players, handing starts to Aoife O’Neill and Ciara McCarthy and both slotted in efficiently. Cliona Healy, who was hugely impressive against Waterford, came on for 20 minutes and showed well helping herself to 1-1.
Playing with the strong wind in their favour in the opening half Cork tore the Kilkenny defense apart despite Denise Gaule getting the Cats off to a good start with the game's opening score.
Cronin replied immediately and when Danielle Morrissey edged Kilkenny in front on 10 minutes we thought maybe we had a good contest on our hands. Cork upped the pace though. Quicker and slicker they picked off points and holding Kilkenny scoreless for 22 minutes they opened up an eight-point lead.
Laura Murphy got one back for the visitors but it was 0-10 to 0-3 at the break.
Aoife Doyle fired one over on the resumption but a great Cork move saw Laura Hayes off-load to Linda Collins whose inch-perfect pass to Amy O’Connor was finished well to the net.
With overhead conditions deteriorating we had torrential rain and hail stones and with it came a brief Kilkenny rally which yielded four points without reply.
Cork settled and hit two points in a row. Denise Gaule clawed one back for Kilkenny but a strong Cork finish led by a Healy goal and five points without reply.
Cork were full value for their victory and they will no doubt look forward to the challenge that Offaly will pose next weekend as the quest for a place in the final gathered momentum.
Scorers for Cork: O Cronin 0-9 (0-7 f), A 0’Connor 1-3, C Healy 1-1, C Sigerson 0-2, L Collins, C McCarthy 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: D Gaule 0-3 (0-1 f), L Murphy 0-2, A Doyle, S Fitzgerald, K Nolan, D Morrissey 0-1 each.
CORK: A Lee; A O’Neill, L Treacy, N O’Callaghan; H Looney, L Hayes, C Sigerson; L Coppinger, A Thompson; A O’Connor, O Cronin, S McCarthy; L Homan, L Collins, C McCarthy.
Subs: C Healy for C McCarthy (40), I O’Regan for S McCarthy (47), E Murphy for L Homan (52), C O’Sullivan for A O’Neill (57), H O’Leary for L Collins (62).
KILKENNY: E Kavanagh; C O’Shea, C Dormer, M Teehan; N Deely, C Phelan, G Walsh; L Murphy , KA Doyle; M Walsh, A Doyle, L Norris; K Nolan, D Gaule, D Morrissey.
Subs: C Foley for KA Doyle (inj 12), S Fitzgerald for M Teehan (h-t), M Kenneally for L Norris (47), M O’Connell for M Walsh (54).
Referee: John McDonagh (Galway).