All Ireland intermediate hurling championship glory for Cork in Nowlan Park today, claiming their ninth title in all, following a close battle with titleholders Kilkenny.
Goals were key, and full-forward Dan Mangan supplied both – one in either half.
It was 0-2 apiece before Cork – aided by the strong wind - struck the opening major after just six minutes with St Catherine’s player Mangan finding the net.
Kilkenny had the perfect response though with James Bergin popping over two from placed balls and one from midfielder Paul Hennebry. All square after 10 minutes.
Cork found their rhythm once again, reeling off the next four points unanswered, two were courtesy of former county senior Cormac Murphy.
The accuracy of free-taker Bergin kept the Kilkenny scoreboard ticking over. However, white flags from Michael Collins, Stephen Condon (free) and Jack Walsh enabled the visitors into a 1-10 to 0-8 lead at the interval.
Cork goalkeeper Shane Hurley was called into action straight from the restart, and although playing into the teeth of the elements, crucially the Rebels maintained the upper hand. The margin never going below three points.
By the three-quarter juncture, Cork were 1-16 to 0-13 to the good. Stephen Condon was a constant threat from placed balls, while captain Michael Russell and Shane O’Donovan anchored a solid defence.
Kilkenny pegged back the deficit to three points, but Mangan’s second goal 10 minutes from time put the game beyond Kilkenny’s reach.
Scorers for Cork: D Mangan (2-2), S Condon (0-7, 0-6 frees), C O’Leary (0-2 frees) and C Murphy (0-3 each), J Walsh (0-2), S Hegarty and M Collins (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilkenny: J Bergin (0-8 frees), P Walsh (0-3), P Hennebry, S Murphy and C Hennessy (0-2 each), R Hickey (0-1).
Cork: S Hurley (St Finbarr’s); N Motherway (Dungourney), M Russell (Aghada, Capt), G Mellerick (Fr O’Neill’s); C O’Leary (Valley Rovers), S O’Donovan (Mayfield), J Cronin (Lisgoold); N Kelly (Mayfield), S Hegarty (Dungourney); J Walsh (Valley Rovers), C Murphy (Mallow), M Collins (Ballinhassig); C Fleming (Aghada), D Mangan (St Catherine’s), S Condon (Harbour Rovers).
Subs: C O’Brien (St Ita’s) for N Motherway (26 inj), D O’Neill (Mayfield) for M Collins (40), L O’Shea (Lisgoold) for C Fleming (48), M O’Sullivan (Tracton) for J Walsh (52).
Kilkenny: D Brennan (St Lachtains); P Delahunty (Young Irelands), C Flynn (Graigue Ballycallan), M Carey (Young Irelands); E Egan (Graigue Ballycallan, Capt), P O’Carroll (Lisdowney), J Henderson (Fenians); S Murphy (Glenmore), P Hennebry (Mooncoin); C Hennessy (Tullogher Rosbercon), C Tobin (Fenians), O McGrath (John Lockes); P Walsh (Mooncoin), C O’Carroll (Lisdowney), J Bergin (Conahy Shamrocks).
Subs: S Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan) for O McGrath (42).R Hickey (Lisdowney) for C O’Carroll (49).
Referee: John Keane (Galway).