Free-scoring Rebels stay grounded

Cork 4-16 Waterford Institute of Technology 1-08
A week after hitting 3-20 against UCC, Cork steamrolled Waterford Institute of Technology on Saturday evening in Pairc Ui Rinn, hitting 4-16 over 70 minutes in the Waterford Crystal Cup.

4-16? 3-20? Any team that can rack up scores like that is surely going places.

Are the good times finally back on Leeside?

Easy, tiger. The first people to douse Saturday’s result with some chilly perspective were members of the home management.

“We’ll meet stronger teams than WIT,” said Cork selector Kieran Kingston after the game. “They were missing a good few players — all their Waterford players — but we can only worry about ourselves, giving lads a run and working on our style of play.

“It was low key but it gave us a chance to look at guys we wouldn’t be able to look at otherwise, and it also gives us another game next week. That’s the purpose of the competition for us.

“We had a strong bench but we know what those guys can do, we’re delighted with the attitude the lads showed today and we’re delighted with the win.”

Kingston’s summary was on the money. The Waterford college face Carlow IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup next week and were clearly minding some of their better players for that date. A Cork team stocked with plenty of fringe players keen to make an impression took full advantage.

The game was competitive until the end of the first quarter. Cian McCarthy was floored near the WIT goal and Anthony Nash trotted upfield to blast home the penalty. Jamie Coughlan added a clever solo goal soon afterwards, and though Michael Sheedy responded with a goal for WIT — three goals in four minutes — Cork never looked back, leading at the break by 2-10 to 1-4.

Cian McCarthy’s accuracy from placed balls in the second half eased Cork away, and Adrian Mannix’s well-taken brace of goals were the icing on the cake for the home side.

The display means that Saturday’s starting fifteen are likely to be given a vote of confidence to start again next weekend. “Certainly we’ll look at the injuries but that’s more than likely, yes,” said Kingston. “We committed at the start of the year, when we were building a panel, to giving fellas every opportunity. That’s difficult to do later on in the year, and to be fair to guys you have to give them a run.

“We’re bringing guys in for training so they’re not just being brought in for a game, they’re familiar with the surroundings and so on because they’re working with us. We’re saying to them ‘if you have a bad half-hour or a bad game it doesn’t mean you won’t get a second chance’. We’re trying to be fair to everyone.

“We haven’t had much access to the college guys but apart from that we’ve given everyone a run. It’s good for us to put pressure on players who think they’re established.”

On the injuries Kingston mentioned, Michael Cussen left before half-time with a hip injury but the selector was hopeful that the towering Sars player would be back sooner rather than later.

Apart from Mannix’s two goals the crowd of 484 hardy souls will probably remember the game for the calm authority of Christopher Joyce at centre-back. The Na Piarsaigh man was assured throughout, and on a team which faces serious surgery ahead of the sharp end of the season, he looks to be growing into the pivotal position in the defence. But the next outing will be a sharper test. Clare are viewed as a coming team under Davy Fitzgerald and will ask some searching questions next weekend.

Scorers for Cork: A Mannix 2-4, J Coughlan 1-4, C McCarthy 0-4 (fs), A Nash 1-0 (p), B Corry, D Kearney, S Moylan, R O’Shea 0-1 each.

Waterford IT: M Sheedy 1-3 (0-2 fs), E Murphy 0-2 (1f, 1 65), M Gaffney, H Kehoe (f), G Aylward 0-1 each.

CORK: A. Nash (c); J. O’Donovan, M. Ellis, P. O’Sullivan; C. Spillane, C. Joyce, S. White; D. Kearney, R. O’Shea; B. Corry, C. McCarthy, C. Murphy; A. Mannix, M. Cussen, J. Coughlan.

Subs: S. Moylan for Cussen (33); D. Pyne for Kearney (52).

WATERFORD IT: M. Fanning (Waterford); M. Power (Waterford), L. O’Loughlin (Clare), J. Cahill (Kilkenny); A. McGrath (Tipperary), L. Harney (Kilkenny), T. Hammill (Tipperary); S. Murphy (Wexford), S. Roche (Waterford); M. Gaffney (Kilkenny), M. Sheedy (Tipperary, capt), H. Kehoe (Wexford); G. Aylward (Kilkenny), C. Heffernan (Waterford), E. Murphy (Kilkenny).

Subs: J. Dowling (Kilkenny) for Roche and C. Hammersley (Tipperary) for Fanning (half-time); D. Murphy (Dublin) for Kehoe (41); D. Phelan (Waterford) for Heffernan (48); J. Fennelly (Kilkenny) for Cahill (54).

Referee: S. Hourigan (Limerick).

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