Hawkeye Sidekick

Road to the All Ireland SHC final: Cork

Cork

We are in All Ireland SHC hurling final week and Cork are back in the marquee final for the first time in nine years. Can Cork win to bridge a sixteen year gap and bring Liam McCarthy back to Leeside? Hawkeye Sidekick looks at Cork’s passage to the final.

Road to the final

Fixtures
Munster SHC Semi-FinalLimerick2-22 (28)Cork1-17 (20)
All Ireland Qualifier Second RoundCork3-19 (28)Clare1-23 (26)
All Ireland Quarter-FinalCork2-26 (32)Dublin0-24 (24)
All Ireland Semi-FinalCork1-37 (40)Kilkenny1-32 (35)

Munster SHC Semi-Final

Cork may have lost but Kieran Kingston and management team would have been pleased how the side battled throughout this contest particularly when Limerick hit Cork for two quick fire goals at the end of the opening half.

Eight loss it may have been but Cork provided Limerick with a number of issues during the contest. The run game was established early and Cork reveled in the Thurles surroundings.

The Cork inside full forward line looked sharp when fast ball was supplied. If Patrick Horgan had slotted home the opening half penalty, who knows how this game would have gone?

Limerick to their credit recovered after that Horgan penalty miss and the half-back line for Limerick started to dominate and provided the platform for the victory.

Cork never went away, created a number of chances inside but Limerick quelled the storm and scored the last few scores for an eight point win.

Goals: S Kingston 1.
Points: P Horgan 5 (5f), J O’Connor 3, D Fitzgibbon 3, S Barrett 2, T O’Mahony 1, S Harnedy 1, R O’Flynn 1, S Kingston 1.

All Ireland Qualifier Second Round

This was a fixture where Cork showed the good, the mediocre and the ugly in this win which was more hard fought than it should have been.

Cork were superb for fifty minutes of this contest. Cork’s short pass and run game causing Clare massive issues in the middle third and three well worked goals scored by Barrett, Kingston and O’Connor who was starting to emerge as a go to forward for Cork.

The ending of this game would have focused minds in the Cork management as Clare came back strongly at Cork who faded badly.

Tony Kelly increasingly prominent and had the chance at the death to secure a late win only for a superb save from Ballinhassig’s Patrick Collins. A near miss but Cork were through.

Goals: S Barrett 1, S Kingston 1, J O’Connor 1.
Points: P Horgan 10 (4fs, 3 65s); D Fitzgibbon 2, S Harnedy 2; L Meade 1, R O’Flynn 1, S Barrett 1, S Kingston 1; A Connolly 1

All Ireland Quarter Final

This was seen by some as a banana skin fixture for Cork given Dublin’s win over a hotly fancied Galway outfit and competed well against Kilkenny despite Covid-19 impacting the panel early.

Cork though made sure that this quarter final was a routine affair. The half-back line to the fore as they dominated Dublin in the air and on the ground. Tim O’Mahony with a superb goal and that was the cue for victory.

Cork’s scorers on the day were many as they enjoyed their outing in Semple Stadium. It is like a second home to the Rebels who enjoy the venue with the fast ground and wide confines.

Minds had already focused to the All Ireland semi-final and a date with Kilkenny at Croke Par as the subs bench got valuable game minutes in the closing quarter!

Goals: T O’Mahony 1, S Kingston 1.
Points: P Horgan 12 (8fs, 1 65), S Harnedy 4, J O’Connor 3, R O’Flynn 2, C Cahalane 1, S Barrett 1, N O’Leary 1, T O’Mahony 1, A Connolly 1.

All Ireland Semi-Final

This for me was the marquee fixture for Cork. The form line suggested that Cork would run Kilkenny close and after a nervy opening, Cork grew into this contest.

Their speed and run game established after the opening water break, Cork started to take a foothold in the middle third. Coleman game reading superbly and allowing Tim O’Mahony at wing back to move further forward.

This game was Cork’s heading into the closing moments of normal time hitting some sensational scores in the final quarter.

A 65′ miss from Horgan in injury time was not deemed as costly but Adrian Mullen struck a superb open to level the game. Kilkenny looking to launch another attack just as Fergal Horgan blew for extra time.

Many teams would have thrown in the towel after such a traumatic body blow but Cork regrouped superbly and they made sure with some superb scores. Dalton’s score at the death immense.

Shane Kingston played like a man possessed. Seven points from play. His movement and hunger for the ball were different class.

Kingston was a deserved man of the match and it poses a question for his father Kieran whether to keep his son in reserve?

Goals: J O’Connor 1.
Points: P Horgan 15 (9f), S Kingston 7, J O’Connor 3, A Cadogan 3, R O’Flynn 2, S Harnedy 2, S Barrett 1, M Coleman 1, D Fitzgibbon 1, N O’Leary 1, D Dalton 1