Cork’s Championship is well and truly back up-and-running after today’s fantastic 1-26 to 1-19 victory over the All-Ireland and National League champions at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Looking like a team transformed from last Sunday’s home defeat to Tipperary, Pat Horgan’s 52nd-minute goal set them on their way.
Their defence held Limerick to just 1-7 from play and Daniel Kearney gave a heroic performance.
Limerick were well-positioned to strike at half-time but Cork were the far superior side thereafter.
Fittingly, it was the first of a Kearney brace in the 47th minute that put them into a lead they never relinquished.
Horgan’s goal came as a result of a long delivery by Bill Cooper, the Glen Rovers man touching the ball into his path before striking past Nickie Quaid.
Limerick had no answer to it and other than a Barry Murphy shot straight at Anthony Nash in additional time never looked like catching them.
The teams were level on six occasions in the opening half before Graeme Mulcahy’s thundering goal in the 27th minute.
Mulcahy gathered a long ball in from Declan Hannon and created enough space to unleash an unstoppable shot.
Cork almost cancelled it out straight away when Seamus Harnedy completed a one-two with Aidan Walsh only for the captain to see his one-arm swing stopped by Nickie Quaid.
Cork didn’t wilt in the wake of the setback, though, and largely through a couple of Harnedy scores came within one before an Aaron Gillane free concluded the half, Limerick leading 1-11 to 0-12.
Cork also had to deal with the early loss of Conor Lehane, who injured himself in scoring a fourth-minute point.
Alan Cadogan deputised well in his absence, although it was the work-rate of Kearney that was the major positive in the visitors’ attack in the opening period.
Unusual for Horgan, he had sent three frees wide by half-time but Cork had been doing well to live with a tigerish Limerick whose movement was creating ample space in their full-forward line.
Mulcahy helped himself to three points as well as the goal in a fine individual first-half display.
Scorers for Limerick: A. Gillane (0-9, 8 frees); G. Mulcahy (1-4); D. Byrnes, S. Dowling (0-2, frees each); K. Hayes, T. Morrissey (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: P. Horgan (1-9, 0-6 frees); S. Harnedy, D. Kearney (0-4 each); A. Cadogan (0-3); L. Meade, D. Dalton (0-2 each); C. Lehane, D. Fitzgibbon (0-1 each).
LIMERICK: N. Quaid; S. Finn, M. Casey, R. English; D. Byrnes, D. Hannon (c), D. Morrissey; C. Lynch, D. O’Donovan; G. Hegarty, K. Hayes, T. Morrissey; P. Casey, A. Gillane, G. Mulcahy.
Subs for Limerick: S. Flanagan for P. Casey (55); S. Dowling for G. Hegarty (57); W. O’Donoghue for D. O’Donovan, B. Murphy for G. Mulcahy (both 61); D. Dempsey for A. Gillane (66).
CORK: A. Nash; S. O’Donoghue, E. Cadogan, N. O’Leary; M. Coleman, M. Ellis, R. Downey; B. Cooper, D. Fitzgibbon; D. Kearney, S. Harnedy (c), L. Meade; A. Walsh, P. Horgan, C. Lehane.
Subs for Cork: A. Cadogan for C. Lehane (inj 6); S. McDonnell for S. O’Donoghue (h-t); C. Joyce for R. Downey (53); S. Kingston for L. Meade (61); D. Dalton for A. Walsh (68).
Referee: P. O’Dwyer (Carlow).