| 5.8°C Dublin

Rebel netminder Nash itching to bring 'crazy' habits to Croker


Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Picture: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Picture: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Picture: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THEY say 'keepers are crackers and Anthony Nash is not about to dispute the 'crazy' consensus, especially when it comes to himself.

And maybe that explains why Cork's All Star custodian is relishing the prospect of having a pass-remarkable Hill 16, heaving with all the capital's budding comedic talent, in his ear for the first time.

"That's great," Nash enthuses, looking ahead to Sunday's All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Dublin. "I was up there a few years ago to watch Dublin play Tyrone in football and it was my first experience of it and it's phenomenal! It's unique.

"Croke Park is a fantastic stadium, phenomenal, I just love the thought of playing there. People talk about the surface in Thurles, but I think Croke Park is the crème de la crème when it comes to hurling."

According to Nash, you can't zone out completely when the terrace denizens want to share opinions with the lonely opposition netminder.



"Ah, you'd hear some smart comments going your way. When your puckouts aren't going your way, they seem to get louder and louder," he laughs. "You try and put it away and most times I'm the loudest anyway.

"My defenders will tell you I'm a pain in the backside when it comes to talking to them."

Having spent several seasons as second or even third-choice behind Donal óg Cusack, Nash has been busy making up for lost time since establishing himself as Cork No 1 in the wake of Cusack's Achilles rupture (in the spring of 2012) and subsequent exit from Jimmy Barry-Murphy's panel.

His first summer as a regular ended in All Star recognition. His acrobatic interventions against Kilkenny two weeks ago, especially that amazing double-save from a retaken penalty, has reinforced his credentials for back-to-back awards.

Yet the Kanturk clubman, 28, offers a more critical self-appraisal. Reflecting on Dublin's recent half-back dominance of the opposition's puckout, Nash admits: "My puckouts against Kilkenny in the first half were nothing short of terrible.

" I hit one straight in to Michael Fennelly's hand and another one out over the sideline, to put the pressure on.

"I felt they went a small bit better in the second half; the stats mightn't say so."



The way hurling has evolved, he reckons you are "doing well" to break 50-50 on your own puckout – primarily because of how teams now set up defensively.

"You're hitting it into a crowded zone and it's all about breaks. Dublin have been phenomenal at that, and their midfielders work ferociously too to get to the break," he outlines.

On a less serious concluding note, back to our intro.

"I'll have to echo those sentiments, goalies are crazy!" Nash affirms.

"The lads say the same. Ask any of them and they think I'm crazy ... little habits and routines and stuff. I'd be very finicky when it comes to a lot of things.

"Aidan Walsh wrote in an article that he doesn't answer the phone to me half the time because he makes my hurleys and I'm so fussy.

"I've got small habits and things that people would consider crazy. I won't divulge them to the national press.

"Yeah, I'd have lucky stuff that I wear, that I think are lucky ... but Jesus Christ, they haven't been lucky on a lot of occasions!" concludes the Rebels' netminder.