Saturday 24 August 2019

Nash keeping eyes firmly fixed on biggest prize of all

Kanturk’s Anthony Nash. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Kanturk’s Anthony Nash. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Anthony Nash would be disappointed if he ended his inter-county hurling career with Cork without an All-Ireland medal but would never reflect on that career as a failure as a consequence.

The Rebel goalkeeper, speaking at an AIB-hosted press event ahead of his club Kanturk's clash with Kilmaley of Clare in Sunday's Munster club intermediate hurling final, has been ever-present since taking over from Dónal óg Cusack in 2012 but an All-Ireland title remains elusive as the county enters its second longest spell without a Liam MacCarthy Cup success, edging past the barren 1954-'66 years in 2018.

"My two uncles (Mike and Declan Nash) played in 1994 and '96 for Limerick in All-Ireland finals. Would I say they have successful careers? I would say they had hugely successful careers. They won Munster when hurling (championship) was knockout," explained Nash.

"I look at my career in that vein. I have two Munster medals (three including 2006 as a substitute). I openly say it's the All-Ireland (that matters most). That's any hurler. You see Galway winning it. For me, personally, I'd be disappointed (to miss out). Would I be disappointed with my career? No.

"I know it sounds childish but I've made huge friends with Cork, had opportunities I never would have had if I didn't hurl with Cork. As long as I'm playing I'm going to be trying for that elusive All-Ireland."

Kanturk's intermediate success elevates a Duhallow divisional club to senior ranks for the first time ever, an "unbelievable" achievement, says Nash in the context of how football-orientated that part of the county is.

It's been a remarkable year for the club who also won a Cork intermediate football title with 12 of the hurling team on board, mirroring what Bandon and Valley Rovers have achieved in recent years.

For Nash, Kanturk and Cork enjoyed similar seasons after a difficult 2016. "Kanturk were in a relegation semi-final. Cork were knocked out early by Wexford so I had a massive break. This year Cork won Munster and we went on to win the club. My two years have contrasted amazingly."

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Nash admits he was still a little surprised that Cork were effectively written off at the beginning of 2017, fifth from five in the Munster SHC betting: "I started playing in goals in 2012 under Jimmy (Barry-Murphy). We made an All-Ireland semi-final against Galway, made the All-Ireland final in 2013, won Munster in '14, made the league final in 2015. 2016? Yes, fair enough. As a team, we were fifth favourites in Munster which I thought was a little bit unfair."

Nash isn't surprised by Kieran Kingston's departure as manager due to time constraints but welcomes the continuity that John Meyler will bring. He also welcomes the new hurling format which he agreed with as it brings more games. But he hopes supporters will be enticed by deals so they can continue attending games.

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