A lethal inside line propelled Cork to the semi-finals of the Munster Minor Football Championship following a surprisingly one-sided encounter against Tipperary at Semple Stadium last evening.
The trio of Mark Cronin, Cathail O’Mahony and Damien Gore tormented the home defence throughout to the delight of the Cork contingent in the attendance of 1,158.
Cronin, younger brother of senior player Stephen, finished top scorer with 2-4 while Gore contributed 1-5 and O’Mahony chipped in with 0-4 for a grand total of 3-13 between them.
Cork dominated throughout. Their midfield pairing of Mark Keane and Ryan Walsh used their height advantage to telling effect while captain Colm O’Callaghan was another influential figure in the middle third.
This provided the platform for Cork to launch their runners who came from all angles in an impressive display of attacking play to which Tipp simply had now no answer.
Cork set about their task straight from the start and duly made their superiority count on the scoreboard.
Their strong running at the pressurised Tipp rearguard produced a succession of frees early on which were punished by three different marksmen, Cronin, Gore and O’Mahony.
And while Ryan Lambe opened the home side’s account Cork’s responded impressively with a goal after 16 minutes.
A long ball into the danger zone broke nicely for Gore, who had the presence of mind to spot Cronin all alone to his right and the Nemo Rangers danger-man completed the move in style.
Cork went on the attack again from the kick-out as O’Callaghan’s powerful run produced their opening score from play and a commanding 1-5 to 0-2 advantage.
A fine Conail Kennedy point reduced the deficit to five, nine minutes from the interval, only for Cork to pull away once with a strong finish to the half.
Cronin began a sequence of three points in as minutes with O’Mahony and corner-back Dylan Ward extending their advantage to eight points, 1-8 to 0-3, before the sides exchanged points on the run-in.
Lambe underlined his threat with a second point a couple of minutes before the break and then wing-back Jack McCarthy surged forward to complete Cork’s tally for a 1-9 to 0-4 interval lead.
Poor shooting affected both sides with Cork finishing with seven wides, one more than their opponents, who carried little threat close to the Cork posts.
The pattern continued on the resumption and a third goal after 37 minutes ended all doubts about the outcome.
It was as a disastrous goal to concede from a Tipp perspective as centre-back Paul Devlin lost possession cheaply, allowing Evan Murphy set-up for the chance for Cronin to finish in style.
That made it 2-12 to 0-5 and from there to the final whistle it was a procession for Cork, who also defeated Tipp last season, though that was a completely different affair.
Both sides began emptying their benches, it made little difference to the flow of the game, which was entirely in Cork’s way.
A third goal looked inevitable and it arrived in the 44th minute, when McCarthy’s dashing run created the opportunity for Gore to finish with a rising shot to the net, 3-14 to 0-6.
Still, Cork keeper Kevin McMahon spread himself well to bat away a stinging Lambe shot, though he was eventually beaten seven minutes from the end, when Adam McGrath scored with a strong shot for close range.
Scorers for Cork: M Cronin 2-4, 2f, D Gore 1-5, 2f, C O’Mahony 0-4, 2f, C O’Callaghan 0-3, D Ward, J McCarthy, E Murphy, C Barrett, C Myers-Murray 0-1 each
Scorers for Tipperary: A McGrath 1-0, R Lambe 0-3, S Ryan 0-2f, R Quigley, C Kennedy, M Stokes 0-1 each
CORK: K McMahon (Kilshannig); L Finn (Mitchelstown), W Ronan (Kilmurry), D Ward (Douglas); J Harrington (Adrigole), P O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers), J McCarthy (Carrigaline); R Walsh (Kanturk), M Keane (Mitchelstown); J Murphy (Eire Og), E Murphy (Dromtariffe), C O’Callaghan (Eire Og); M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), D Gore (Kilmacabea).
Subs: C Barrett (St Finbarr’s) for Murphy 39, C Myers-Murray (St Finbarr’s) for O’Mahony 41, S Meehan (Kiskeam) for Harrington 42, D O’Mahony (Knocknagree) for Ronan and J Corcoran (Nemo Rangers) for Finn 45, D Moynihan (Ballydesmond) for Murphy 50
TIPPERARY: J Dolan; J Ryan, S Grogan, J Harney, joint-captain; R Quigley, P Devlin, C Kennedy; J Flannery, joint-captain, E McBride; D Mulcahy, S Ryan, C Boland; M Stokes, R Lambe, D Tynan.
Subs: D Bolger for Boland half-time, A McGrath for Tynan and C O’Sullivan for McBride 38, D O’Leary for Devlin 46, C McKenna for J Ryan 48, L Cleary for Harney 51
Referee: R Moloney (Limerick)