A VERY experimental Cork team and UCC served up an entertaining encounter for the Canon O’Brien Cup at the Mardyke yesterday morning with the honours resting with the county side.
Both sides will take positives from the exercise with a number of players showing up well in a contest that lacked a definite cutting edge.
It was Cork’s first win from their three pre-season games and the team management gave a first start to a number of players.
One of them, young Simon Kennefick from the Glen, posted some tasty points and will benefit from the outing.
Cormac Beausang and Tommy O’Connell from Midleton both got on the scoresheet, Beausang as a starter and O’Connell as a second-half replacement.
Deccie Dalton got Cork’s first-half goal and added a point as well while Cormac Murphy continued his comeback on the team with a few well-executed points too.
UCC, who introduced a large number of substitutes during the course of the game, had Eddie Gunning at full-back in fine form and the introduction of Shane Kingston for them at the break worked the oracle too as the Cork star rifled over a brace of fine points.
Tipperary player Mark Kehoe was outstanding in the opening half and converted some sublime points.
Mark Coleman did his bit too and he struck home a well-taken penalty in the second-half after Kehoe had been fouled.
UCC were the better side in the game’s opening sequences and by the 15-minute mark, they had constructed a six-point advantage, 0-10 to 0-4.
Michael O’Halloran, Kehoe, Shane Conway, Dara Walsh, Chris O’Leary and Eoghan Murphy from Sars were all on the board in that spell for the students.
Patrick Horgan, making his first start of the new season, showed his class with a few points, with Sean Hayes and Jamie Coughlan also getting on the board.
Dalton belted in Cork’s goal after 18 minutes and thereafter in the half, it was score for score.
Danny Kearney got a point for Cork and Murphy slung over an exquisite point from a sideline just on half-time to leave Cork ahead by the bare minimum going in at the break, 1-13 to 0-15.
With both sidelines emptying their benches, things became a little fragmented, but it remained very tight on the scoreboard.
Horgan embellished Cork’s lead with a few pointed frees, with UCC responding in similar fashion at the other end courtesy of Chris O’Leary.
Keeping track of the subs now became a task in itself and after 45 minutes it was a two-point game after Ross Donoghue had pointed for UCC.
But UCC were back in front shortly afterwards when Coleman drilled past Patrick Collins from a penalty.
Then the impressive Kennefick hit a brace for Cork and as the clock counted down, it was a game very much in the melting pot.
Kingston put UCC ahead in the dying embers of the hour, but Cork had the last say, points from Horgan and sub Stephen Condon to seal the deal.
In the final analysis, not a whole pile could be read into the hour at the old venue but it was, nonetheless, a good workout for both camps.
From a Cork viewpoint, it’s make your mind up time now for management as they construct their national league squad.
And how many of the new players that saw action in the past number of games will make the cut?
Scorers for Cork: P Horgan (0-9, 0-5 frees), D Dalton (1-1), S Kennefick (0-4), C Joyce and C Murphy (0-2 each), J Coughlan, C Beausang, P Leopold, S Condon, T O’Connell and D Kearney (0-1 each).
Scorers for UCC: C O’Leary (0-4 frees) and M Kehoe (0-5 each), M Coleman (1-1, 1-0 pen), S Conway (0-3, 0-2 frees), R Donohue, M O’Halloran (0-1 free) and S Kingston (0-2 each), E Murphy, D Walsh and S Hayes (0-1 each).
CORK: P Collins; S O’Donoghue, D Cahalane, C O’Callaghan; C Joyce, P Leopold, W Kearney; D Kearney, C Murphy; S Kennefick, P Horgan, C Walsh; J Coughlan, D Dalton, C Beausang.
Subs: R Downey for W Kearney (ht), S Condon for D Dalton (ht), T O’Connell for J Coughlan (38), C Power for Joyce (45), C O’Brien for D Kearney (50).
UCC: (Cork unless stated) J Barry (Castlelyons); N O’Leary (Castlelyons), E Gunning (Na Piarsaigh), D Lynch (Passage East, Waterford); C O’Leary (Valley Rovers), E Murphy (Sarsfields), D Griffin (Carrigaline); P Cadell (JK Brackens, Tipperary), M Coleman (Blarney); D Walsh (Éire Óg, Ennis), S Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry), R Donohue (Buffers Alley, Wexford); M Kehoe (Kilsheelan/Kilcash, Tipperary), M O’Halloran (Blackrock), S Hayes (Mallow).
Subs: S Kingston (Douglas) for S Conway (ht), K O’Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary) for N O’Leary (ht), A Casey (Ballyduff Upper, Waterford) for D Walsh (43), E Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh) for S Hayes (44), T Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s) for E Gunning (50), J O’Sullivan (Blackrock) for R Donoghue (51), D Desmond (Éire Óg) for J Barry (52), W Henn (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick) for M O’Halloran (54).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).