CORK put in a scintillating display to power past Kildare in Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final in Croke Park.
The Rebels recorded a strong 2-19 to 0-12 win over a determined Lilywhites side, who had Eoin Doyle sent off in the second half following his second booking.
Cork raced to a 2-5 to 0-8 lead at the interval, and ran riot in the final quarter thanks to scores from Paul Kerrigan, Pearse O’Neill, Donncha O’Connor and man-of-the-match Aidan Walsh.
Both sides were guilty of errors in the opening 35 minutes, with Cork blitzing Kildare with two early goals to put a comfortable gap between the sides. However, points from Johnny Doyle and Alan Smith soon had Kieran McGeeney’s team back in contention.
Goals from Colm O’Neill and an own-goal from Eoin Doyle had Cork coasting ahead after 18 minutes, but it was to be their last score of the half. Five scores in quick succession from Kildare saw them claw back, with Tomas Connor dominating at full-foward.
However, it was a different story in the second-half, with McGeeney’s men simply unable to cope with the brilliance of Cork at times.
The aforementioned Walsh and Pearse O’Neill, who was introduced in the second half, were simply immense at midfield, with scores coming at ease from O’Neill, Daniel Goulding, Kerrigan and Walsh all impressing.
Kildare went 25 minutes without scoring during the second half, with late points from Smith, Doyle and substitute Dermot Earley merely bringing a more respectable look to proceedings.
The Rebels have now progressed to their sixth semi-final in seven years following Sunday’s win, with a date with Donegal now to prepare for in the coming weeks.
Cork: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; P Kissane (0-2), G Canty, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, A Walsh (0-3, 0-1f); F Goold (0-1), C Sheehan, P Kerrigan (0-2); C O’Neill (1-3, 0-2 f), D O’Connor (0-4, 0-1f, 0-2 ’45), N Murphy.
Subs: P Kelly for Sheehan; P O’Neill (0-2) for A O’Connor; D Goulding (0-2) for Murphy; J O’Sullivan for Carey; D O’Sullivan for Canty
Kildare: S Connolly; O Lyons, P Kelly, H McGrillen (0-1); E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, E Doyle 1-0 o.g.); M Foley, R Kelly (0-1); E O’Flaherty (0-1f), M Conway (0-1), A Smith (0-4, 0-1f); J Doyle (0-3, 0-1f), T O’Connor, J Kavanagh.
Subs: D Flynn for Kelly; P O’Neill for Foley; F Dowling for Conway; S Johnston for E O’Flaherty; D Earley (0-1) for O’Connor