Nash born in green but bred in Rebel red

A couple of years ago, sitting behind incumbent Dónal Óg Cusack and his long-time back-up, Martin Coleman, rumours were rife Cork’s Anthony Nash was transferring to Limerick. Never a runner, the Kanturk man confirmed earlier this year; whether or not he was ever going to make the number one spot his own, he was going to stick with Cork.

Now he is the current All-Star and will be between the posts when Cork take on Clare in Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

Though he grew up in the heart of Duhallow, Anthony’s family was rooted in Limerick and in the Nash back garden in the mid-90s, Joe Quaid was the man Anthony was emulating, not Ger Cunningham, Cork keeper of the day and current selector.

“When I was growing up, it would have been Limerick I was supporting. My two uncles (Declan and Micheál Nash) were playing with Limerick at the time so I would have had a big interest.

“In ‘94 and ‘96 Joe was around so I suppose I would have looked to him but when I was younger with Kanturk I was playing out the field and I would have looked at my uncles and Ciaran Carey and maybe a few more.”

Ah, ’94 and ’96. In common with most Limerick hurling supporters Anthony really felt the pain of those two All-Ireland final losses. “Yeah I was at both. I was asked before in a player profile, ‘Outside of playing what’s the hardest thing you’ve dealt with?’; I said those two performances.

“I was very young at the time but I still would have considered them very tough. I’ve watched them back since on TG4 — you would have felt so sad for them. They’ve had fantastic careers, they’ve been fantastic ambassadors for Limerick hurling and they can take something from that.

“I was actually born and christened in Limerick myself and I think one of the priests down there tried to snap me up when I was at a young age but when the lads stopped playing, I kind of faded away.

“Living in Cork I would have supported Cork anyway though on Limerick-Cork days, when the lads were playing I definitely would have supported Limerick.

“Soon after that I was shouting on Cork and I was at the last All-Ireland they won above on Hill 16 (2005) so this is a huge honour for me. I was always red blood really is what I’m trying to say. I remember the first time I was called into the Cork senior team, we trained in Castlemagner and Brian Corcoran was the first man over, welcomed me to the panel — I nearly fainted at the sight of him.

“I was fairly nervous walking in that dressing room door, he was in the middle of togging out but went out of his way to come over and shake my hand; that’s something I’ll never forget.

“It took me about half an hour to get togged out, looking around the dressing room seeing who I was togging out with! I actually have his jersey at home and it’s one of the most cherished things that I have. Since then I’ve been a very lucky person to be involved in such Cork teams.”

The Limerick connection is still strong however, and Anthony has stayed in touch with his uncles. “In fairness to them they’ve rang and I always enjoy the chat. I’m very close to my family — my cousin Barry played in the minor semi-final the last day (he actually scored Limerick’s controversial ‘point’ that was then incorrectly ruled out by Hawk-Eye).

Now Anthony Nash has a new family and he has been very good to them — how fortunate Cork are to have him, how very fortunate indeed!

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