All-Ireland SFC: Cork finish with a flourish to stun Mayo
All-Ireland SFC Group One
Cork 1-14 Mayo 1-11
By Stephen Barry at TUS Gaelic Grounds
Cork recorded a landmark victory over Mayo by blitzing them for 1-6 without reply to achieve the three-point victory they needed to secure a home preliminary quarter-final.
Kerry’s early demolition of Louth simplified the permutations as the top three teams ended on four points apiece. Cork and Mayo’s plus-three score difference was identical but the Rebels got the nod on points scored (2-48 to 2-44).
Steven Sherlock changed the game when introduced in the 40th minute for the injured Ruairí Deane. He kicked 1-5 from six shots in the final half-hour as Cork charged back from a 1-11 to 0-8 deficit.
Sherlock accounted for the first 1-4 of that comeback, the goal from a penalty, to edge Cork ahead before fellow impact subs John O’Rourke and Chris Óg Jones gave them the necessary three-point margin by the 74th minute.
Mayo had a last-gasp scoreable free. Had they pointed, they would’ve earned the home tie as Group 1 runners-up. Had they worked a goal, they’d take the bye to the quarter-final off of Kerry as Group One winners.
Aidan O’Shea lobbed it in, but Míchéal Aodh Martin claimed the high ball as Cork celebrated a first victory over Mayo in 21 years.
There were two late changes on either side.
Cork decided to draft Tommy Walsh and Eoghan McSweeney in for Kevin O’Donovan and Jones. Instead of Jones, it was Deane who partnered Brian Hurley up top at the first whistle, while Colm O’Callaghan drifted in as another high-ball option at every opportunity.
Mayo introduced Donnacha McHugh and Diarmuid O’Connor for Sam Callinan and Fionn McDonagh. As a unit, however, they were lost for ideas to penetrate the Rebels’ blanket defence.
O’Shea did force a save from Martin, but it took them 22 minutes for their first score from play, via the excellent Jordan Flynn.
Cork were never more than two points ahead but it was the underdogs’ ravenous appetite for turnovers and speed of counter-attack which impressed most. Rory Maguire, wearing no.3, displayed his kicking abilities by getting forward to finish off two fine moves, while his tackle to strip a Mayo attacker resulted in another for McSweeney.
Deane drifted around to assist two more points for O’Callaghan and Walsh as well as a goal chance for Ian Maguire, well turned away by Colm Reape.
Cork ahead 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.
But Cork couldn’t sustain such a breakneck pace for a full 70 minutes as Mayo were able to congest their attacks and get their runners into space in the third quarter.
Flynn was happy to take on the shooting responsibility. He found plenty of success drifting from the right wing across to the left to kick three further points, while winning a mark which resulted in a Ryan O’Donoghue converted free.
O’Donoghue was plenty involved in open play too, setting up a point and the breakthrough goal for half-time substitute Tommy Conroy after Killian O’Hanlon spilled the ball in the 57th minute. 1-11 to 0-8 now.
Cork hit right back from the kick-out. O’Callaghan drove at the heart of the Mayo defence and was fouled for a penalty. Sherlock sent Reape the wrong way.
That goal and those subs re-energised the Rebel challenge as Mayo completely wilted.
Sherlock had 1-5 within 25 minutes of his arrival, with his latter point giving Cork their first lead in half an hour. When O’Rourke added another, they led by two entering stoppage time.
The signal was given in to the players. Just one more point would be enough.
Sherlock was the man to win the final Cork kick-out as they worked it through the hands of Conor Corbett and Ian Maguire to send Jones in on goal. He had the presence of mind to take the point.
Scorers for Cork: Steven Sherlock 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-1f, 0-1 45), Rory Maguire, Brian Hurley (1f) 0-2 each, Colm O’Callaghan, Chris Óg Jones, Tommy Walsh, Eoghan McSweeney, John O’Rourke 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue 0-5 (4fs), Tommy Conroy 1-1, Jordan Flynn 0-4; Colm Reape 0-1 (45).
Cork: Mícheál Aodh Martin; Maurice Shanley, Rory Maguire, Tommy Walsh; Luke Fahy, Daniel O’Mahony, Matty Taylor; Colm O’Callaghan, Ian Maguire; Brian O’Driscoll, Ruairí Deane, Killian O’Hanlon; Seán Powter, Brian Hurley, Eoghan McSweeney.
Subs: Steven Sherlock for Deane (40, temporary), John O’Rourke for McSweeney (51), Conor Corbett for Hurley (55 inj), Kevin O’Donovan for Fahy (58), Chris Óg Jones for Powter (64), Mark Cronin for O’Hanlon (67).
Mayo: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Pádraig O’Hora; Donnacha McHugh, Conor Loftus, Paddy Durcan; Stephen Coen, Matthew Ruane; Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn; Aidan O’Shea, James Carr, Ryan O’Donoghue.
Subs: Tommy Conroy for Carr (HT), Enda Hession for Coyne (52), Eoghan McLaughlin for Ruane (52), Kevin McLoughlin for McHugh (67).
Referee: Paul Faloon (Down).