Cork hurlers made a mockery of the current championship format when they put ten goals past a hapless Laois side in their first round qualifier at in Portlaoise this afternoon. The Rebels were far too strong for the O’Moore County and this total mismatch must surely raise come eyebrows amongst the Croke Park executive.
The home side were only really competitive for the opening half, and even at that, they only shared parity a few times in the opening quarter. Willie Hyland was their star man and his early scores gave them a 0-4 to 0-2 lead early in the match. However, Patrick Horgan was a man inspired on the afternoon and he ended with a personal tally of 3-08. His first goal gave the rebels the lead for the first time and they never looked back from there.
Paudie O’Sullivan also finished with a hat-trick and his two in the first half gave the visitors a commanding lead at the interval. In truth it was going to be damage limitation for Laois in the second period as they played against a strong breeze. O’Sullivan hit his third goal shortly after the restart and the floodgates opened soon after. Horgan added number five and the cracks began to appear in the Laois rearguard. Horgan added further goals and Cooper and substitute Jamie Coughlan chipped in as the men in red went on the rampage.
Cork now meet Offaly in the next round and while they can expect a tougher test, it is unlikely to stop their progress. The powers that be in the GAA will certainly need to take a look at how the qualifiers are formatted and make some adjustments if we are to prevent such a mismatch from taking place in the future.