NFL 1 final: Rebels romp to title

April 25, 2010

Cork's Patrick Kelly sets up another attack as Donal Vaughan of Mayo tries to block during the 2010 Allianz NFL Division 1 final at Croke Park - INPHO
Cork took the 2010 NFL Division One title with this 1-17 to 0-12 defeat of Mayo at Croke Park.

Daniel Goulding (1-5) and Donncha O'Connor (0-5) were the executioners-in-chief on a day when Mayo once more failed to bring their A game to the capital.

Five first-half points from O'Connor - three of them from open play - gave the winners a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the break. There was little between the teams in terms of general play in that opening period, but the Rebel County were much more economical in front of the posts.

On a wet and miserable evening at HQ, Cork seemed to be coping better with the conditions following an unexpected deterioration in the weather. Five of their six forwards registered before the break.

Both teams started as selected and Mark Ronaldson had a chance to perhaps propel the Connacht champions into a strong position with a first-minute goal. The No.15 got to the dropping ball ahead of hesitant Cork 'keeper Paddy O'Shea but didn't attack it with enough conviction and could only divert a tame effort harmlessly wide.

At the other end, Ciaran Sheehan fired Cork ahead with a point on three minutes. Tom Parsons kicked wide under pressure from a Rebel defender (the expected free was not forthcoming…) but his midfield partner Seamus O'Shea did better when he thumped over Mayo's opening point from distance on seven minutes.

Daniel Goulding and Paul Kerrigan tapped over a couple of quickfire points and Paddy Kelly followed up with another score to make it 0-4 to 0-1 after 14 minutes.

Mayo were decidedly unfortunate in the 17th minute when Aidan O'Shea struck the black spot on the crossbar. Wing back Kevin McLoughlin had dropped a shot short and the full forward flicked the ball goalwards only to find the woodwork.

Ronaldson and O'Shea missed further goal chances for John O'Mahony's men - the latter's low shot well blocked by Jamie O'Sullivan - while at the other end Cork centre forward Donncha O'Connor struck over two excellent points from distance. Those scores left the Leesiders in complete control with 20 minutes played: 0-6 to 0-1.

In the 23rd minute, Alan Dillon popped over the first converted free of the match and Conor Mortimer followed suit with a 27th-minute free from the hands after he himself had been fouled. O'Connor expertly curled over a lovely free off the ground to make it 0-7 to 0-3 after 28.

Captain Trevor Mortimer kicked weakly wide at the end of Mayo's next attack but his younger sibling Conor made no such mistake as he finished a good Mayo move with a lovely 32nd-minute score: 0-7 to 0-4. But not for the first time this year O'Connor was causing Mayo all sorts of problems and he banged over his fourth point of the match 90 seconds later to make it double scores.

Conor Mortimer added his third point in the last minute of first-half normal time after another brilliant break forward by impressive No.7 McLoughlin. In injury time at the end of the half, O'Connor drilled over a wonderful free off the ground from 47 metres. That was the last kick of the half and it gave the Munster champions a four-point interval cushion.

Mayo introduced Ronan McGarrity for Ronaldson at half time and they made a lightening start to the second half with two points from Conor Mortimer in as many minutes - one from play and one from a free.

Goulding steadied Cork with a straightforward point seven minutes after the resumption. Paddy Kelly's backpass which went back out over his own endline for a 45 epitomised the difficulties being experienced at Croker in poor conditions.

When Goulding's 46th-minute free dropped short, midfielder Alan O'Connor was on hand to fist the ball goalwards and Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke diverted the effort over the bar for an eleventh Rebel point. That score meant that the four-point gap half-time gap had been restored, 0-11 to 0-7.

Goulding missed a free and Cork had a sniff of a goal chance when Walsh fumbled Donncha O'Connor's free before Aidan Walsh stroked over another Rebel point: 0-12 to 0-7. Mayo replaced Trevor Mortimer with Aidan Kilcoyne with 20 minutes left but the change made little difference as Goulding cut inside to knock over a point from play off his right boot.

With 15 minutes left, Mortimer floated over a beautiful left-footed point from out on the touchline, closing the gap to five. Straight away, Noel O'Leary replied with an excellent point for Conor Counihan's team. Dillon dinked over a Mayo free to make it a five-point game again.

Liam O'Malley saw yellow for a heavy tackle on Paudie Kissane and Goudling took his fourth point from the resultant free - 0-15 to 0-9. The No.13 tagged on his fifth point with a brilliant finish across his body and full forward Sheehan registered his county's seventeenth point of the day.

In the 63rd minute, Sheehan and Goulding combined and the latter stepped inside to send a low shot past Clarke to the Mayo net. The game was well and truly over at 1-17 to 0-9. Andy Moran and Dillon pulled back a couple of consolation points for Mayo before Seamus O'Shea drove a powerful shot a few feet over the bar.

Paddy O'Shea saved a late deflected shot from Moran and Kilcoyne's 45 drifted wide to sum up Mayo's disappointing day.

Cork: Paddy O'Shea; Ray Carey, Michael Shields, Eoin Cotter; Noel O'Leary (0-1), Paudie Kissane, Jamie O'Sullivan; Alan O'Connor (0-1), Aidan Walsh (0-1); Fintan Goold, Donncha O'Connor (0-5), Paddy Kelly (0-1); Daniel Goulding (1-5), Ciaran Sheehan (0-2), Paul Kerrigan (0-1). Subs: Nicholas Murphy, Colm O'Neill, Derek Kavanagh, John Hayes, Ger Spillane

Mayo: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Liam O'Malley; Donal Vaughan, Trevor Howley, Kevin McLoughlin; Tom Parsons, Seamus O'Shea (0-2); Andy Moran (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-3), Trevor Mortimer; Conor Mortimer (0-6), Aidan O'Shea, Mark Ronaldson. Subs: Ronan McGarrity, Aidan Kilcoyne, Barry Moran, Pat Harte


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