Cleere eye for goal keeps Kilkenny on course for treble glory
All-Ireland IHC final
KILKENNY nailed the first part of what could be an All-Ireland hurling treble by securing the intermediate title in Thurles on Saturday.
The Cats regained the crown they last won in 2008 and gained revenge for last year's final defeat against Cork with a seven-point win. Kilkenny's third All-Ireland intermediate success, and second in three years, was secured on the back of a strong second-half display.
The game, played out in front of 1580 spectators, was book-ended by goals from towering Cats full-forward Peter Cleere, who netted within two minutes and in stoppage-time at the finish.
Kilkenny led by 1-2 to 0-0 before Cork settled and manager Pat Hoban reflected: "We got a great start. We got a few scores which gave us a chance to settle whereas Cork were under pressure to do well, playing with the breeze."
Cork finished with 14 men after centre-back Kevin Hartnett was sent off for a second bookable offence with five minutes remaining. Kilkenny, who led by 1-6 to 0-8 at half-time, finally shook off dogged opposition, in a game that had been level five times, with Cleere's second goal.
Hoban smiled: "It's the first All-Ireland for the county this year and hopefully it will give momentum to the minor and seniors ahead of next week."
Scorers -- Kilkenny: P Cleere 2-0, B Beckett 0-4 (0-1f), A Healy 0-4 (0-3f), R Dollard, M Grace 0-2 each, N Cleere (0-1f), K Mooney (0-1f), B Lennon, N Doherty, N Walsh 0-1 each. Cork: E Conway 0-7f, C Casey 1-1, B Cooper 0-3, D O'Callaghan 0-2f.
KILKENNY -- L Tierney; M Phelan, P Murphy, K Mooney; J Cotterell, R Cody, N Doherty; P Hartley, N Walsh; B Beckett, R Dollard, N Cleere; M Grace, P Cleere, A Healy. Subs: B Lennon for Cody (37), N Doherty for N Cleere (47).
CORK -- D McCarthy; M Walsh, C Fogarty, B Coleman; T Healy, K Hartnett, M Ellis; D O'Callaghan, B Fitzgerald; B Corry, B Cooper, C Casey; M Harrington, E Conway, M O'Sullivan. Subs: S Corry for Fitzgerald (48), B Lawton for Conway (53), J Halbert for O'Sullivan (55).
Ref -- A Kelly (Galway).