Cats show power as Cork fail to ignite

Kilkenny 0-19 Cork 0-11

The senior hurling challenge game was organised to mark the official opening of the Blackrock club’s fabulous new complex at Church Road.

In mitigation, Cork paraded just five of their All-Ireland winning side - Brian Murphy, John Gardiner, Timmy McCarthy, Niall McCarthy and Joe Deane - and the reserves failed to fire.

The damage was done in the first half when Cork, playing with the assistance of a strong wind, failed to find any rhythm and Kilkenny took full advantage.

Only briefly in the second-half, when they came within two points of the Cats, did Cork seriously threaten, but in the end they had no answer to the superior scoring power of Brian Cody’s far livelier forwards.

Ritchie Power with six points, five from frees, and Derek Lyng, Willie O’Dwyer, Sean O’Neill and substitute Eoin Larkin, who scored three points each, were the main Kilkenny marksmen.

This was a very low-key performance by Cork and only the full-back line of Brian Murphy, Killian Cronin and Cian O’Connor held their ends up, while Peter Kelly was prominent in the left half-back position.

Midfielder Timmy McCarthy made a couple of surging runs but the remainder of the Cork team failed to ignite and not even the late introduction of Brian Corcoran at full forward could provide the necessary spark.

Not one Cork player succeeded in scoring more than a point from play, a sad indictment indeed of a lifeless attack.

It was a particularly disappointing return for Fergal McCormack, who was forced off after pulling a hamstring in the 30th minute. But the Mallow player, like the rest of his colleagues, had made little impact.

With the wind to their backs Cork hit 11 wides from both play and frees, while Kilkenny, who hit the ground running, were four points up after just eight minutes.

Cork, with three points on-the-trot from Peter Kelly, Conor Cusack and Neil Ronan, who converted a free, reduced the deficit to the bare minimum after the opening quarter but Kilkenny, with some splendid long-range scores, led by 0-9 to 0-6 at the interval.

Two points in rapid succession from substitute Ronan Conway and Joe Deane brought Cork back into contention entering the closing quarter, but Kilkenny were always capable of lifting their game and surged clear once again.

The visitors were five points to the good before Brian Corcoran had Cork’s last score, a point in the 27th minute, and finishing like they began, the Cats sealed victory with a string of late points from Martin Comerford, Eoin Larkin and Sean O’Neill.

Scorers: Kilkenny: R Power 0-6 (0-5 from frees); D Lyng 0-3; S O’Neill 0-3; W O’Dwyer 0-3, E Larkin 0-3 (0-1 from free); M Comerford 0-1. Cork: J Deane 0-3 (0-2 from frees); N Ronan 0-2 (0-1 from free); P Kelly, G Callinan, N McCarthy, C Cusack, R Conway and B Corcoran 0-1 each.

KILKENNY: R O’Neill; J Tyrell, J J Delaney, D Cody; M Kavanagh, B Hogan, J Ryall; M Fennelly, P Cleere; R Power, D Lyng, W O’Dwyer; S O’Neill, E McCormack, E Brennan.

Substitutes: M Comerford for Lyng; A Murphy for Brennan; E Larkin for Fennelly; A Fogarty for McCormack; J Dalton for Ryall; T Walsh for Tyrell; M Rice for Cleere.

CORK: M Coleman; B Murphy, K Cronin, C O’Connor; J Hughes, J Gardiner, P Kelly; G Callinan, T McCarthy; K Murphy, N McCarthy, F McCormack; N Ronan, C Cusack, J Deane.

Substitutes: J Barrett for Hughes; R Conway for McCormack (injured); T Kenny for B Murphy; B Corcoran for K Murphy.

Referee: P O’Connor (Limerick).

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