O'Neill sparkles in Derry as Cork ease relegation fears
Derry 2-10 Cork 0-20
Derry welcomed back a number of their star players for the visit of Cork, but it was not enough to stop the rot with Damian Barton's men falling to a four-point defeat at Celtic Park.
Slaughtneil trio Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Rogers and debutant Padraig Cassidy all started for the Oakleafers while both Danny Heavron and Mark Lynch returned to action from the bench in the second half.
Victors Cork were hungry and clinical throughout and Colm O'Neill converted a match-winning 11-point haul to hand his team a vital win. O'Neill's inside forward partner Paul Kerrigan was also in the groove, hitting 0-5 from play. The victory jumped the Rebels up out of the drop zone while Derry must win at Fermanagh next week.
Ballyclough marksman O'Neill was the sharpest thorn in Derry's side, notching up six points to edge Cork ahead 0-10 to 1-6 at the break. Danny Tallon goaled in both halves but in truth, Derry never really looked like winning.
Indeed, O'Neill added a further five points after the interval as both himself and Paul Kerrigan found their scoring range with consummate ease to guide Peadar Healy's men home.
Amidst glorious sunshine Chrissy McKaigue marked his Derry return with the opening score, but within minutes Cork raced to 0-4 to 0-1 lead. McKaigue, bristling with intent, led the Derry fight back with a second score while captain Enda Lynn nailed a sumptuous effort to level matters. And when Danny Tallon rattled the back of the net it handed the home side the lead in the 30th minute.
But every time Derry threatened, Cork bit back. A Mark Collins point, followed by a Colm O'Neill brace regained their lead with the visitors edging ahead by a single point at half-time.
O'Neill's seventh point, a beauty holding off two men before dissecting the posts from an impossible angle, stretched that lead to two before Neil Forester's piercing run and point once again made it a single point affair in the 40th minute.
Again, Peadar Healy's men tapped on the gas and by the mid-point of the second half led 0-14 to 1-7 with Paul Kerrigan (with five from play) beginning to show his class and pace.
Damian Barton sent on Mark Lynch and Danny Heavron but the Oakleafers will have rued as many as nine second half wides as their more clinical opponents made them pay. A second Danny Tallon goal in the 51st minutes offered hope. Lynch found the raiding Heavron who played an inch-perfect slide rule pass to the young Glen striker who tapped hope from close range.
Unfortunately for Derry they could only add on one late free as the Rebels snuffed out any late resistance with a further flurry of points late in the game
Scorers: Derry: Tallon 2-1, McKaigue 0-2, E Lynn 0-2, Herron 02f, Forester 0-1, Loughlin 0-1, Lynch 0-1f
Cork: O'Neill 0-11 (0-7f), Kerrigan 0-5, Collins 0-2, O'Rourke 0-1, O'Driscoll 0-1
Derry: Mallon, Rocks, Rogers, Keenan, Forester, McKaigue, Craig, McWilliams, Cassidy, Lynn, McGuckin, McAtamney, Tallon, Loughlin, Herron. Subs: Mullan for J Rocks (27), McEvoy for C Mullan (33), Heavron for M Craig (44)
Cork: O'Halloran, Shields, Clancy, Crowley, Clancy, Loughery, Cronin, Maguire, Deane, O'Rourke, Collins, O'Driscoll, O'Neill, Kelleher, Kerrigan. Subs: O'Driscoll for T Clancy (HT), O'Connor for P Kelleher (45), O'Driscoll for J O'Rourke (57), Og Hodnett for M Collins (60), McLoughlin for S Cronin (63)
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo)