Monday 23 April 2018

Cork claim early bragging rights in free-scoring clash

Cork 1-24 Kilkenny 0-24

Kilkenny’s John Donnelly tries to gather the ball under pressure from Tim O’Mahony of Cork. Photo: Sportsfile
Kilkenny’s John Donnelly tries to gather the ball under pressure from Tim O’Mahony of Cork. Photo: Sportsfile

Dermot Crowe at Pairc Ui Chaoimh

The perfect start to John Meyler's new regime in Cork hurling came in the form of a win over Kilkenny, their first over the county in the league since 2012, even if it is not the kind of Kilkenny that strikes fear in the heart of opponents like it used to. Still, they had to battle hard for it. The match was level 13 times before Cork loosened Kilkenny's grip over eight minutes of injury time.

That extended period is explained by an injury to Cillian Buckley, who had to be stretchered off after suffering a knock in the 65th minute. By then Buckley had scored three points. His goalkeeper Eoin Murphy had two from long range frees, Colm Spillane and Mark Ellis hit two bombers, and Padraig Walsh landed an inspirational score that triggered the last Kilkenny revival when they came from three points down to level through Walter Walsh in the 64th minute.

Cork's Shane Kingston lets fly with a shot. Photo: Sportsfile
Cork's Shane Kingston lets fly with a shot. Photo: Sportsfile

The Buckley injury appeared to upset Kilkenny's rhythm more, however, and while Fogarty and TJ Reid had late scores, Cork produced more spark in the final sprint for the line: of the seven points scored in the eight minutes of injury-time, five were Cork's. They will be relieved to have picked up a win with three of their five matches on the road, starting with a trip to Wexford next Sunday.

Kilkenny were coming off defeat to Wexford in last weekend's Walsh Cup final, a game that took them to extra time in heavy conditions, but again they showed encouraging spirit and resilience.

Cork made a thunderous start, scoring 1-1 after only two minutes, the goal from Shane Kingston after Darragh Fitzgibbon made the hard yards. Robbie O'Flynn was full of running and they looked confident and capable of hurting Kilkenny, but some wides sapped their energy and Kilkenny took a foothold. Buckley hit two uplifting scores, one immediately following the other, and they went neck and neck with Cork, and even managed to go in at half time, on a perfectly mild and wind-free evening, a point up, 0-15 to 1-11.

Cork rested Anthony Nash, their first-choice goalkeeper who had helped Kanturk reach the All-Ireland intermediate club final earlier in the day. Patrick Collins stood in and did his reputation no harm with a steady performance and one excellent reaction save in the first half from Conor Martin although play was called back for a free under the advantage rule. In one of the scores of the game, a Collins puckout in the 16th minute was fielded by the roaming Seamus Harnedy who fired over a score that showed brilliant craft and economy.

Kilkenny's Joe Lyng on the charge. Photo: Sportsfile
Kilkenny's Joe Lyng on the charge. Photo: Sportsfile

Cork, who used weaker teams in the recent Munster League, shot out from the blocks. The impressive O'Flynn raced through for a score after only 15 seconds and his provider, Fitzgibbon, set up Kingston for the second-minute goal, nailed at his second attempt, with a ground stroke, not helped by a surface which was in a terrible state with a lot of loose sod.

But Kilkenny soon settled. Pat Lyng landed a point and then Buckley had his two before Richie Reid, who finished with three, tied the teams in the eighth minute. The teams were level nine times in the first half of a lively contest with Kilkenny's 15 first half points impressive scoring, the majority from play.

Eoin Murphy hit two long range frees in the first half which nosed them in front for the first time but the game kept altering course, neither capable of opening a gap of more than two points. Ellis hit a huge score and Spillane matched it while Harnedy kept the Kilkenny defence busy, winning frees and having one point himself. He might have had a goal but for the brilliance of Murphy in the Kilkenny goal who denied him after 28 minutes when Cork trailed 1-8 to 0-12. Six minutes earlier he pulled off an even more spectacular stop from a goal attempt by Alan Cadogan, picked out by a terrific O'Flynn pass.

The see-saw pattern continued into the second half. Richie Reid picked off his third point of the day to extend the Kilkenny lead, the cue for Cork to respond with scores from Luke Meade, a beauty, and Harnedy. Lehane edged Cork in front and Kilkenny brought on TJ Reid who levelled the match with his first strike, a free 15 minutes after the interval. Points from Daniel Kearney, Lehane and Fitzgibbon put some daylight between them, leaving Cork 1-19 to 0-19 ahead with 15 minutes left. But Kilkenny wouldn't sit. Buckley hit his third point of the match, before going off injured, and Padraig Walsh inspired his side with a glorious score after running half the field from his full back position. TJ Reid landed a free and in the 64th minute they were level for the 13th time when Walter Walsh pointed from out on the sideline, 1-19 to 0-22.

Kilkenny's TJ Reid. Photo: Sportsfile
Kilkenny's TJ Reid. Photo: Sportsfile

From there it was anyone's guess. Cork had that bit more in the tank.

Scorers - Cork: C Lehane 0-11 (0-9 fs), S Kingston 1-1, S Harnedy 0-3, R O'Flynn0-2, M Ellis, A Cadogan, C Spillane, L Meade, D Kearney, D Fitzgibbon, J O'Connor 0-1. Kilkenny: A Murphy 0-5 (0-3 fs), R Reid 0-3, C Buckley 0-3, E Murphy 0-2 (both fs), TJ Reid 0-3 (0-3 fs), W Walsh 0-2, P Lyng, J Maher, M Keoghan, C Martin, P Walsh, C Fogarty 0-1.

Cork: P Collins; S O'Donoghue, E Cadogan, C Spillane; C Joyce, T O'Mahony, M Ellis; D Fitzgibbon, D Kearney; R O'Flynn, C Lehane, B Lawton; Cadogan,S Harnedy, S Kingston. Subs: L Meade for Lawton (27 mins); M Cahalane fro O'Flynn (56); J O'Connor for A Cadogan (61).

Kilkenny: E Murphy; J Holden, P Walsh, P Deegan; C O'Shea, J Lyng, C Buckley; C Fogarty, J Maher; M Keoghan, R Reid, P Lyng; A Murphy, W Walsh, C Martin. Subs: TJ Reid for Keoghan and J Donnelly for Martin (both 43 mins); L Blanchfield for A Murphy (48); R Leahy for Maher (56); E Morrissey for Buckley (inj 65).

Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)

Cork manager John Meyler and Kilkenny manager Brian Cody shake hands. Photo: Sportsfile
Cork manager John Meyler and Kilkenny manager Brian Cody shake hands. Photo: Sportsfile

Sunday Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport