Cork put up an incredible score as they trounced Westmeath by 23 points in Mullingar to set up a mouth-watering All-Ireland SHC quarter-final meeting with Kilkenny at Croke Park next weekend.
As expected, the Rebels possessed far too much firepower for the home side in what was the first-ever championship meeting of the counties. It was mere shooting practice at times for John Meyler's men who led by 0-24 to 0-9 at the interval and didn't let up in the second half.
After losing last time out against Clare, it didn't take Cork long to get back on track with Alan Cadogan putting them in front inside 15 seconds. Killian Doyle levelled from a free for a Westmeath side who were still licking their wounds after last Sunday's Joe McDonagh Cup final defeat to Laois in Croke Park before points from Cadogan and Bill Cooper gave Cork a lead they wouldn't surrender.
Cork players line up for the national anthem. ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.
Veteran Eoin Price left the minimum in it before the Rebels reeled off six points without reply to open up a 0-9 to 0-2 lead after just 13 minutes. The game became woefully one-sided thereafter as the gulf in class become all-too apparent. Patrick Horgan, who top-scored with 0-10, led the scoring charge for the visitors who had extended their advantage to 15 points by half-time.
It continued to be one-way traffic in the second half with the only goal coming six minutes in when Horgan teed up Robbie O'Flynn for a smart finish. Conor Lehane followed up with a point moments later to leave 20 in it.
Despite the best efforts of Doyle, Price and captain Aonghus Clarke, who scored 0-15 between them, Joe Quaid's Allianz League Division 2A champions were totally outclassed and their misery was complete when Gary Greville received a second yellow card with a minute of normal time remaining.
Cork - A Nash; S McDonnell, E Cadogan, N O’Leary; C Joyce, M Ellis, M Coleman; B Cooper (0-1), T O’Mahony (0-1); C Lehane (0-4), D Fitzgibbon (0-3), S Kingston (0-5); A Cadogan (0-5), P Horgan (0-10, 5f), S Harnedy (0-5). Subs: J Coughlan (0-1) for A Cadogan, R O’Flynn (1-4) for B Cooper, D Cahalane for M Coleman, D Dalton (0-1) for S Harnedy, D Browne for M Ellis.
Westmeath - C Lynch; D Egerton, T Doyle, G Greville; L Varley, A Clarke (0-2), P Greville (0-1); S Clavin (0-1), J Gilligan; J Boyle, K Doyle (0-9, 5f), C Boyle; J Galvin (0-1), E Price (0-4), R Greville (0-1). Subs: D O’Reilly for S Clavin, D McNicholas for J Boyle, C Doyle (0-1) for C Boyle, C Shaw for A Clarke, A Craig for L Varley.
Referee - P Murphy.Tweet