The traffic was all one way in the opening quarter as Cork ran out to a 0-5 to 0-0 lead. Bobby Murphy thumped over two frees and Brian McGrogan, very effective on the 40, hit a gem of a free from near the sideline.
Full forward Mike McCarthy nearly had a goal but settled for a point when Rangers keeper John Williams parried his shot over the lathe. Pat Mahoney set up McCarthy for another point and it looked grim for Rangers and the spectators alike.
Finally, Rangers broke through via Dave Phelan’s 14th-minute free. Phelan was working hard and he looked like Rangers only hope in the forwards. Then midfielder Rory Hussey started winning some ball around the middle of the park, breaking up Cork’s near monopoly on possession. Phelan notched a second point in the 23rd minutes while Cork failed to add to their tally.
Veteran Malachy McHugh and fellow Ranger wingback Paul Murphy were foraging well for the ball and frustrating Cork’s forwards. Then Hussey sent Phelan in on the Cork goal. Phelan’s rocket was blocked, but right into the path of teammate Stuart Barry. Barry made the most of his opportunity and out of the blue the sides were level.
Cork finally got back on the scoreboard with a Stephen O’Shea point and when Phelan replied from a free the midway score was set, with Cork at 0-6 and Rangers at 1-3.
Matty McCarthy’s inspirational talents would seem to be impressive because Cork came out flying again. After scoring the first five points of the match, the Rebels went that one better, extending their lead to 0-12 to 1-3 before Phelan, and then Hussey answered for Rangers.
In the end, that was the problem for Denis Twomey’s men. If Phelan or Hussey didn’t do it, it wasn’t likely to get done. Rangers never gave up and center back Seamus Bruen scored a long-range point that was the score of the day. But Cork were too strong.
Solid midfield performances by Pat Mahoney and Jamie Lally (switched at the half), and good forward play from a promising group led by McGrogan, Stephen O’Shea, Mike McCarthy, and Bobby Murphy defined the day. Sterner tests lie ahead for Cork, but this is a very encouraging start for the Rebels.
Man of the Match: Brian McGrogan.
Cork: Brian McGonagle, Enda Lally, Seamus Foley, Ken Delanty, Tim O’Sullivan, CJ Doherty, Liam Hanley, Pat Mahoney, Ger Codagan, Brendan Willey (0-1), Brian McGrogan (0-2, 2 frees), Jamie Lally, Bobby Murphy (0-6, 5 frees), Mike McCarthy (0-3), Stephen O’Shea (0-5).
Rangers: John Williams, Niall Duggan, Mike Rennicks, Phil Bermingham, Mal McHugh, Seamus Bruen (0-1), Paul Murphy, Mike Bishop, Rory Hussey (0-1), Mike Sheridan, Dave Phelan (0-4, 3 frees), Jamie Duggan, Stuart Barry (1-0), Damien Barr, Derrick Courtney. Sub: Pat Lyons.