Cork have plenty of work to do, admits Anthony Nash

Anthony Nash doesn’t feel the lack of relegation will affect competitiveness in this year’s NHL.

Last November, the GAA’s Central Council decided to restructure the league from 2020 into two groups of six evenly matched teams - but with no promotion or relegation between Divisions 1A and 1B this season.

Speaking after Sunday’s defeat to Kilkenny, Nash said he and his teammates would still be disappointed by the loss, even if they are not at risk of dropping out of the top-flight.

“No, it’s absolutely the same thing,” said Nash. “We try and win every game. We are all looking after our own individual performances at this time of the year and trying to build a team-ethic. But there’s no difference whatsoever (with the lack or relegation). We try to go out and win and we didn’t. It’s no different to our approach last year.”

The Kanturk clubman pointed out that it’s too soon to be worried unduly, adding that Cork would take the positives out of Sunday’s game: “It’s very early days, we are not going to get overly concerned about it, but it just shows we have an awful lot of work on. There’s always going to be mistakes at this time of year, but I thought our lads really just died on their boots out the field. They tried really hard to the very end and that’s the most important thing — to show a bit of character.”

Nash identified the honesty and strength of the Cats as key factors last weekend. “Kilkenny are always tough to break down, they are always a well-drilled team, physical, strong, and honest. We have a lot of work to do, we are well away from where we want to be, but this time of year brings a lot of hard training, so it’s about trying to improve. We have Wexford now next down in the Páirc so hopefully we can work on the positives.”

The long-serving goalkeeper is the oldest player on the panel but is enjoying his hurling as much as ever.

“It’s grand, at this time of the year you are not going to be at the fitness levels of where you want to be, but the lads (physical trainers) are working us hard. We trust an awful lot in them and they trust in us. It’s just great to get out hurling.”

Next week, Cork host Wexford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in a double-header with the Rebel footballers, who’ll face Kildare.

“We’ll give it a go,” said Nash. “Wexford are going to be hopping off the ground as well and they’ll come down with a lot of intent as well. It’s just trying to get performances strung together. We’ll go back training this week and hopefully get things a bit tighter and push on.”

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