Rebels prove a step too far for Longford
For a while at Pearse Park on Saturday it looked like Longford might provide another beast of a result.
The home team led by four points at the interval. They'd kept Cork to three points, and scoreless for the final 25 minutes of the first half. But after half time the dream unravelled.
Having put out Down and Monaghan, burying a third successive Division 1 side proved beyond their reach. Cork won the second half, despite facing the wind, 2-6 to 0-2, and were conclusive victors by the finish. Longford had the wind but as Cork found in the first half it didn't blow in an obligingly direct line away from the town goal. The swirl made for depressing and defeating wides which sucked the life out of Longford after half-time.
Colm O'Neill and Patrick Kelly came into the team at the interval and both had a significant impact on the play. O'Neill's stylishly taken goal had Cork in front, 1-6 to 1-4, in the 49th minute. All in the ground nodded that the score had been coming. Five minutes earlier O'Neill had another goal attempt from a few yards out, kicking on the ground, but Paddy Collum saved well with his legs.
Kelly kicked a good score to widen the advantage and while Brian Kavanagh finally got Longford off the mark with a 56th-minute point, the game was put beyond doubt on the hour when a pinpoint pass from Kelly set up Ian Maguire for the second Cork goal.
The move began with a typical forward burst from Alan O'Connor, who had a massive game in the middle of the field, where Longford were unlucky to lose Michael Brady to injury.
Both sides finished with less than the full complement of players. With 15 minutes left Darren Gallagher of Longford and Cork's James Loughrey were sent off on straight red cards, and near the end Diarmuid Masterson picked up a second yellow card for needless indiscipline.