Smash and grab as Kilkenny deny Cork first league win in thriller
Cork 2-22 Kilkenny 2-23
Cork were denied their first Allianz Hurling League Division 1A points as Kilkenny stole victory at Páirc Uí Rinn tonight.
Leading by six points with as many minutes left, the hosts were overtaken as first Colin Fennelly and then TJ Reid stole in for Kilkenny goals and Lester Ryan and Reid added points. While two from Conor Lehane looked to have secured a draw for Kieran Kingston’s side, John Power gave Kilkenny the win as he won a loose clearance from Cork goalkeeper Patrick Collins in injury time and sent it over the bar.
Cork – playing in blue jerseys said to resemble those used in 1916 – had left the field at half-time to a rapturous reception and it was deserved, as they had been the better side in the opening half, but the fact that their lead was only four points, 1-12 to 0-11, was a consolation to a Kilkenny side which stayed in the game despite being over-run for much of the proceedings.
The Cork goal came in the 13th minute as Séamus Harnedy did excellently to win Brian Lawton’s delivery despite being outnumbered by Kilkenny defenders and then he finished smartly past Richie Reid. At home to Waterford recently, Cork’s high balls in didn’t yield much joy but here they were a key asset, with Harnedy and Conor Lehane profiting the most, though Luke O’Farrell’s efforts weren’t fully rewarded.
The lead was 1-5 to 0-3 after the goal and Cormac Murphy and Patrick Horgan (free) added points to leave seven in it. Murphy and his fellow wing-back Lorcán McLoughlin were very prominent while Christopher Joyce manned the central berth with a quiet efficiency.
Overall, Cork’s effort and workrate were a huge improvement on what it had been in recent games, but Kilkenny were never easily shaken off. Betweeen the 27th and 34th minutes, they scored five points to Cork’s one to come back to within a goal, with TJ Reid and Walter Walsh coming to the fore.
Horgan’s third point, a free in injury time, gave Cork that extra bit of breathing space at the interval, but Kilkenny had the deficit eradicated before six second-half minutes had elapsed. Two Reid frees got them going and then, after Horgan missed at the other end, Walsh had an excellent score after he won the puckout before Richie Hogan tied matters with his first.
TJ Reid’s eighth point put them ahead for the first time in the game and seemingly set to push on, but Cormac Murphy’s boomer showed that Cork weren’t ready to lie down just yet and Horgan’s fourth, a 65, stopped a poor run of misses from him. In between, Brian Lawton almost had a fortuitous goal when his delivery was missed by everyone but trickled wide.
Reid replied in kind to level again, but then Cork made what appeared to be the game’s decisive move. The second goal again had Harnedy heavily involved, winning a ball which he shouldn’t have after Paul Haughney let it in. While his shot was partially blocked by Richie Reid, Bill Cooper was there to follow up and poke home.
Luke O’Farrell’s point meant that all of the Cork full-forward line had registered and a wonderful Harnedy score left five in it all of a sudden. While TJ Reid continued to send over any Kilkenny frees which accrued, goal chances were strangely absent for the Cats and Horgan and Lehane ensured that Cork continued to augment their tally enough to stay ahead. Until the late drama.
Scorers – Cork: S Harnedy 1-3, P Horgan 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 65), C Lehane 0-5 (0-1f), B Cooper 1-0, C Murphy 0-2, D Kearney, P Haughney, L O’Farrell, B Lawton, L McLoughlin 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-12 (0-10f), C Fennelly 1-2, W Walsh 0-3, L Ryan 0-2 each, D Cody, R Hogan, J Power 0-1 each.
CORK: P Collins; D Cahalane, S McDonnell, K Burke; C Murphy, C Joyce, L McLoughlin; P Haughney, J Cronin; B Cooper, C Lehane, B Lawton; L O’Farrell, S Harnedy, P Horgan.
Subs: D Kearney for Cronin (48), S Moylan for Haughney (58), P O’Sullivan for Horgan (65).
KILKENNY: R Reid; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty, D Cody; C Martin, C Fennelly, TJ Reid; R Hogan, K Kelly, W Walsh.
Subs: L Ryan for Fogarty (2, injured), J Maher for Martin (half-time), J Power for Kelly (51)
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).