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Saturday 20 April 2019

Coughlan and O'Connor strikes see Cork home

NHL Division 1A Relegation Play-off: Cork 2-15 Kilkenny 1-16

Conor Lehane of Cork in action against Paddy Deegan of Kilkenny during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Relegation Play-Off match between Kilkenny and Cork at Nowlan Park. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Conor Lehane of Cork in action against Paddy Deegan of Kilkenny during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Relegation Play-Off match between Kilkenny and Cork at Nowlan Park. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

As was the case in 2018, Cork left it to the last game to salvage their league season - this time by seeing off Kilkenny at Nowlan Park.

For the second year on the bounce the Rebels found themselves in the relegation play-off game, however, the 2019 version of this particular fixture had little or nothing on the line as relegation from the top tier wasn't really on the cards for any side this year.

A game that many thought was pointless may well end up being one of the most significant games of the season for the men in red as they now enter the club break with something of a spring in their step and confidence flowing through some of the new boys veins.

Conor Lehane took up the scoring stakes in the absence of Patrick Horgan and a credible eight points (seven from placed balls) showed he knows where the posts are.

Goals from Jamie Coughlan and Jack O'Connor (both second half subs) did the damage here as Cork battled really well to take what was on offer late on.

Cork's ability to go all the way to the final minute will probably be the most pleasing aspect from this with their eagerness and ability to put away one of their main challengers when the opportunity arose second on that list.

The reintroduction of Darragh Fitzgibbon was another major plus for Cork after the All Star's club commitments in recent months. Fitzgibbon is a real talent in the middle third and he will likely command a starting berth from here on in which could see Cormac Murphy either moved or waiting on the bench.

Cork need scores from places other than Horgan so a clinical O'Connor and Coughlan will be a big shot in the arm for manager John Meyler who is intent on building a strong and competitive panel.

Overall this was a good day at the office with three wins from six games not the worst return in a league campaign. The win sees Cork secure league fixtures againstLimerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Galway and Westmeathfor the 2019 campaign.

CORK: A Nash; S O'Donoghue, D Cahalane, D Browne; R Downey, T O'Mahony, M Coleman 0-1; G Millerick, B Cooper; C Murphy 0-1, R O'Flynn, L Meade 0-2; C Lehane 0-8 (6f, 165), A Walsh, S Kingston 0-3 Subs: J O'Connor 1-0 for A Walsh (45), D Fitzgibbon for C Murphy (45), J Coughlan 1-0 for Kingston (68)

KILKENNY: E Murphy; M Cody, P Deegan, C Wallace; E Morrissey, C O'Shea, T Walsh; J Maher 0-1, C Browne; P Lyng, A Murphy 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f, 1.65), R Leahy 0-2; B Ryan 0-1, R Hogan 0-5 (3f), N Brassil 0-3 Subs: A Nolan for C O'Shea (ht), G Malone for P. Lyng (ht), J Donnelly for A Murphy (52), M Keoghan for Leahy (62)

Referee: J Owens (Wexford)

Corkman

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