Cork 7-27 Westmeath 0-15
CORK did the job asked of them as Westmeath were seen off in emphatic fashion in the third round of Division 1 Group A of the Allianz Hurling League at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.
Going into this game, Cork were in a position where a big win was roundly expected but Westmeath had given Waterford a good test in their previous outing and seven changes in the Cork side from the draw with Tipperary brought a small element of the unknown.
In the event, those given their chance showed up well and a seven-goal goal now means that Cork have scored 14 in their three outings so far. It was obviously a far different test from that which awaits against All-Ireland and league champions Limerick the weekend after next, but the result does mean that the Rebels have gone three games unbeaten for the first time since 2018.
Cork were unbackable favourites but the early stages betrayed some complacency as they had three wides in the first four minutes while former Galway man Davy Glennon put Westmeath in front.
Such a state of affairs was never likely to last though, and while Killian Doyle did put Westmeath in front again after Alan Caodgan’s equaliser, Alan Connolly’s ninth-minute goal to make it 1-1 to 0-2 put Cork into a lead that wouldn’t be ceded. Westmeath’s cause wasn’t helped as both Niall O’Brien and Glennon had to withdraw through injury in the opening 21 minutes.
By the water-break, Cork held a 1-5 to 0-4 advantage. Killian Doyle did send over his third point after action resumed but Cork had the next four in succession to put some daylight between the sides.
While the Lake County came back again with a good point from Josh Coll and Doyle’s fourth, Cork’s second goal removed any lingering doubts about the outcome. It was a fine example of team’s ability to weave moves together as Patrick Horgan, Séan O’Donoghue and Shane Barrett combined to set up Luke Meade for a well-taken finish. Robert Downey was almost in immediately after that, denied by an Eoin Skelly save, but the third goal did arrive shortly before half-time as Daire Connery set Connolly away and he in turn fed Horgan, who found the net. That left Cork 3-10 to 0-9 in front and four more points on the trot before half-time meant a 14-point interval lead and that was to expand on the restart.
Alan Cadogan had his fourth point in the opening minute of the second half and then his pass allowed Barrett to slalom through for the fourth goal. A fifth arrived when Horgan reacted after the Westmeath defence didn’t deal with a Seán O’Leary Hayes delivery and Cadogan made it 6-17 to 0-9 from Darragh Fitzgibbon’s pass. Fitzgibbon’s midfield partner Daire Connery got his name on the scoresheet while Westmeath wasted three good opportunities at the other end.
A growing stream of substitutes for each side made for a more ragged affair as time moved on, but with 20 minutes left Cork got a seventh goal, as good as any of the others. A long delivery from Connery found debutant sub Simon Kennefick near the endline and he sent a fizzing pass across towards the goal, allowing Connolly to touch home his second of the day.
It was 7-19 to 0-9 by the second-half water-break, with Westmeath’s brightest forward Josh Coll ending their drought just after that, while Cork were happy to keep their points tally ticking over.
By the end, 33 points separated the sides, with subs Seán Twomey and Brian Turnbull also getting in on the scoring act for Cork.
P Horgan 2-4 (0-2f), A Cadogan 1-4, A Connolly 2-1, S Barrett 1-3, L Meade 1-2, D Connery 0-3 (0-2f), T O’Mahony, D Fitzgibbon, B Turnbull (0-2f) 0-2 each, C Cahalane, R Downey, S Twomey, S O’Leary Hayes 0-1 each.
K Doyle (0-4f), J Coll 0-5 each, C Doyle 0-2, A Craig, A Clarke, D Glennon 0-1 each.
G Collins; S O’Leary Hayes, E Cadogan, S O’Donoghue; T O’Mahony, N Cashman, R Downey; D Fitzgibbon, D Connery; C Cahalane, L Meade, S Barrett; A Connolly, P Horgan, A Cadogan.
T Deasy for Meade, S Kennefick for Horgan (both 41), J O’Flynn for O’Mahony (48), B Cooper for Fitzgibbon (52), B Turnbull for A Cadogan (53), S Twomey for Connolly (54), D Meaney for Connery (56).
E Skelly; D Egerton, T Doyle, B Doyle; A Craig, A Clarke, S Clavin; J Boyle, A Cox; N O’Brien, K Doyle, R Greville; D Glennon, N Mitchell, J Coll.
E Ahearn for O’Brien (9, injured), C Doyle for Glennon (21, injured), S Williams for Ahearn (48), C Shaw for Doyle (58), K Regan for B Doyle, P Scally for Craig (both 63).d
T Walsh (Waterford).