CORK’S visit to O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, for an important division 2 south league game on Saturday evening at 7pm revives memories of their last meeting against Laois.
That came in a division 1 encounter back in March 2012, when Cork were the defending champions and attempting three-in-a-row.
It was the fourth round of fixtures and Cork went into the tie on the back of a disappointing display against Donegal and needing a major improvement.
They got it and Laois came out the wrong side of a 2-14 to 0-10 defeat, having been given a lesson in the first-half, when Cork posted 2-11, of which 2-9 came from play.
The champions could even offset the dismissal of Pearse O’Neill on a second yellow card just three minutes into the second-half and still control matters.
The game marked a return to the lethal form of Colm O’Neill, who had missed the previous year due to a cruciate, but made an instant impression by scoring both goals.
The first came after seven minutes and featured Cork at their brilliant best, when Fintan Goold caught Alan Quirke’s kick-out after Laois pointed to move two in front.
The Macroom player immediately fed Aidan Walsh, who, in turn, passed it on to O’Neill, whose blistering drive nestled in the top corner of the net.
The Ballyclough dangerman struck a second time in injury-time to put the seal on a brilliant first-half performance.
On this occasion, Walsh started the move by finding Noel O’Leary, who sent O’Neill clear on goal for another thunderous finish deep into the net.
It was game over at this stage, Cork surging 2-11 to 0-5 clear after tearing Laois apart with some powerful play and text book finishing, exemplified by Gould and Walsh who kicked three points apiece.
Cork could only add a further 0-3 in the second-half, when Laois again landed 0-5, but the 14-man visitors were never threatened with corner-back Eoin Cotter venturing forward to kick a fine point.
The result left Cork second in the table on five points, one adrift of leaders Kerry, with Dublin, Mayo and Down all on four.
Scorers for Cork: C O’Neill 2-3, 1’45, F Goold and A Walsh 0-3 each, D O’Connor 0-2 1f, P Kerrigan, P Kissane and E Cotter 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: MJ Tierney 0-4f, R Munnelly and J O’Loughlin 0-2 each, C Begley and P Cahillane 0-1 each.
CORK: A Quirke (Valley Rovers); R Carey (Clyda Rovers), E O’Mahony (Macroom), E Cotter (Douglas); P Kissane (Clyda Rovers), N O’Leary (Cill na Martra), G Canty (Bantry Blues); A O’Connor (St Colum’s), P O’Neill (Aghada); F Goold (Macroom), P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers), P Kelly (Ballincollig); C O’Neill (Ballyclough), A Walsh (Kanturk), D O’Connor (Ballydesmond).
Subs: B O’Driscoll (Nemo Rangers) for Kerrigan and S Kiely (Macroom) for Canty, 58, D O’Sullivan (Ballinascarthy) for Kissane, J Fitzpatrick (Carbery Rangers) for A O’Connor and L Shorten (Ballingeary) for D O’Connor, 67.
LAOIS: E Culliton; C Healy, K Lillis, P O’Leary; D Strong, K Meaney, C Boyle; MJ Tierney, J O’Loughlin; R Munnelly, C Begley, D O’Connor; P Cahillane, A Kelly, B Sheehan. Subs: M Timmons for O’Connor, half-time, R Ramsbottom for Kelly, 46.
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).
Three years earlier, the counties also squared up in a division 2 tie, again played at O’Moore Park with Cork also victorious, winning by double scores, 0-18 to 0-9.
John Hayes, who is a new selector this season, was one of eight different Cork scorers that evening, contributing 0-3, including one from a free.
Donncha O’Connor’s imprints decorated Cork’s performance, helping himself to a grand total of 0-9, of which four came from play.
Michael Cussen, Pearse O’Neill, Michael Shields, Paul O’Flynn, Conor McCarthy and James Masters also made the scoring list while Laois, by comparison, had just two scorers.
Kildare also supply a connection to the current division 2 south campaign because they were in the same section, as well, and were joined at the top of the division on seven points by Cork with Monaghan on six.
Kildare take on Clare in Newbridge on Sunday in the other game in the division.