NY GAA: Senior Football final preview: Down v Cork


Cork are the public favorites. A hard read to see looking at the Down win over us earlier in the year. Certainly the championship as a whole has been very competitive, with Tyrone and Leitrim having very impressive teams. On a final day anything can happen.  


Cork 2-11 Tyrone 1-8


CORK is back in the county final for the first time since 1972 after a dominating win over Tyrone. They burst into an early lead before going in at the half up by six and were able to handle a spirited Tyrone comeback in the second half.

A dominating defense held their rivals to 0-3 in the first 30 minutes, and goals each side of the break gave Pat Scanlon’s side a safety net they never had to use. They will start the final as favorites against Down as they look for their first title since 1955.

Cork began on fire with three points in the first eight minutes. Ciaran Lyng was showing Irish form as he had both a free and a point from play. The third score was a majestic point from Colin Daly deep on the right wing.

Tyrone tried to get back in the game, but harmless wides by Aiden Power and John Murtagh were their only response.

Midfield to this point was being won by Cork, and they were dictating the flow of the game. Rory Stafford was breaking the ball down to active lines in both directions.

Tyrone finally broke their duck when they had a free when Murtagh did not seem to be touched, but he sent it over. They had a second point when Conor Downey shot brilliantly from the left corner, but it was immediately cancelled out and then some.

A Cork move out of the back started with a Denis McCarthy interception. Some fancy footwork by Lyng and Woods that would look perfect at Old Trafford was followed by even better soccer play by J.P. Boyle when he dribbled through and slotted to the net at the end of the play.

Two further points by Lyng and a sublime free by Boyle in the corner in front of the dressingrooms moved the lead out to 1-5 to 0-2. The Cork side gave up another point to a Murtagh free after 24 minutes, but immediately sauntered down the field and had a cancellation score by Rory Woods.

Cork continued their domination of the middle, with the half back of Hoare, Crimmins and Cotter completely dominant. They were making everything Tyrone tried to do difficult and energy consuming while they were moving the ball effectively in all corners of the field. With the half time break arriving they were sitting on a six-point advantage. 

Tyrone started the second half as Cork had the first. They had three points in the first seven minutes, although the third came from a sideline that was taken from the 14 even though it went t out on the five. It was a brilliant strike however.

Tyrone continued to attack, and but for clearances by Denis McCarthy and Alan Rafferty the damage could have been far worse.

Cork started to get back into the game as the influence of Daly and Crimmins again started to have effect. They started to move the ball forward, and but for the absence of players in the full forward line as the Cork men were behind the ball they could have had a few scores.

They finally broke through after 15 minutes when a long ball by Crimmins slipped through the hands of a Tyrone defender and fell to Lyng who headed for goal. His brilliant soccer shot was expertly turned away by John McGinley, but Joe O’Neill was following and he slid the rebound to the net.

Tyrone did come back at their opponents, but they had a hill to climb. Three points from Downey and Murtagh got them within two goals.

They them had a major break when a long ball from Eamonn Lyons bounced around the large parallelogram before Aiden Power grabbed it and shot low to the net.

They were within earshot, but the loss of Paul Mulherne to a straight red when he brought Francie Cleary to the ground put them at a huge disadvantage. 

Cork reacted in championship style. With four minutes left on the clock Pat Mahoney, who had arrived off the bench for the injured Daly, set up Boyle for a huge point.

On the resumption the defense with McCarthy and Rafferty prominent shut down a Tyrone attack, and the ball was worked forward to Lyng who slotted over for a five-point lead. Within a minute the same two players had two further points and the victory was secure.

The final grace coup de gras was when Tyrone was awarded a dubious penalty to say the least in the last 30 seconds. The kick was skied, however, by Murtagh and it sailed over the top.

Cork had many heroes on their historic day. Evan Byrne kept his defense tight and could not be faulted on the goal as a forest of bodies was in the way. Alan Rafferty completely nullified Murtagh to the point that the full forward went far out the field in search of ball.

Denis McCarthy was back to his best with a tigerish outing. David Crimmins was man of the match as he constantly broke up plays and stormed forward with ball in hand.

Jack Hoare was another in an excellent half back line who dominated. Rory Stafford got a hand to all the kickouts in the first half and never allowed Reilly or Lyons to get clean possession.