Cork 1-18 UL 1-15: Quite a bit, according to the Cork hurling management last Saturday.
The men in red eased to a win over the University of Limerick in a typical early-January game last Saturday in CIT, where a biting wind punished watchers and made life difficult for those shooting at the scoreboard end.
“I thought it was very informative, from our point of view,” said Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy.
“We played all the lads we brought in last November to train for the Waterford Crystal. It gives us a chance to try players and as I’ve said, we want to see if we can increase the competition for places on the panel.
“That’s purely the object of the exercise with the Waterford Crystal and it’s serving its purpose so far.”
Cork had the wind in the first half and, driven on by centre-back Christopher Joyce, kept UL pinned back for most of the first half. Luke O’Farrell was busy and accurate and debutant Dayne Lee, fresh from Harty Cup action on Friday, scored a fine goal to put daylight between the sides on eight minutes.
Clare star Tony Kelly carried the fight to Cork for the students but they couldn’t manage that wind, hitting eight wides and trailing 0-4 to 1-11 at the half.
UL were better after the break, with Daire Quinn and Conor Martin catching the eye — the latter’s goal with 10 minutes left cut Cork’s lead to four, but substitute Seamus Harnedy energised Cork in the closing stages and they held out for the win.
Lee’s contribution was mentioned in dispatches by his manager.
“It’s hard for him,” said Barry-Murphy.
“He played a game yesterday but he wanted to play — we gave him a chance and he got a great goal.
“All the players’ attitude was first class — now we have another game against CIT next Saturday, so that keeps us going, from a training point of view.
“I’d imagine we’ll stick with the bones of this team for next Saturday. I thought they were fantastic in the first half, we tired a bit in the second half and UL are a very strong team, they have some brilliant players and were bound to come at us.”
Barry-Murphy stressed his wish for competition for places, disagreeing with suggestions that the squad was relatively settled.
“It’s not (settled) in the sense that we’re very anxious to find players to bring onto the panel and to increase competition for places.
“I’m encouraged we can do that — without naming names, I’ve been very impressed already by what we’ve seen in training and matches.”
Other lessons? Observers unfamiliar with the Cork club scene might note sub keeper Darren McCarthy’s appearance as a forward on Saturday. His outfield form with his club demanded that chance, said Barry-Murphy.
“Pádraig Collins is an outstanding keeper, so is Darren. Anthony Nash is our number one keeper but Darren’s form with Ballymartle all the year was brilliant.
“We wanted to give him an opportunity to play out the field rather than sitting on the bench, which would be the case if Anthony is playing — we said we’d see if there might be a role for him out the field.
“His form with Ballymartle suggested he could play out the field. Inter-county is different but we’re hoping he will make that step up.”
Before he headed to the dressing room, Barry-Murphy had words of praise for the Hurling 2020 recommendations. “I think it’s very positive, I think the committee did a very good job and they’re well worth trying. We’ll see how they go in these preliminary competitions.”
Scorers for Cork: L. O’Farrell 0-9 (0-8 fs); D. Lee 1-0; S. Moylan, P. Haughney, B. Lawton 0-2 each; P. Kelleher, A. Walsh, B. Murray 0-1.
Scorers for UL: C. Martin 1-2; J. Forde 0-5 (0-3 fs); T. Kelly 0-3; M. Carmody 0-2; D. Quinn, D. McInerney (f), PJ Scully 0-1.
CORK: P. Collins, W. Kearney, D. Cahalane, S. O’Donoghue, B. O’Sullivan, C. Joyce (c), G. O’Connor, P. Haughney, B. Murray, P. Kelleher, A. Frahill O’Connor, A. Walsh, S. Moylan, L. O’Farrell, D. Lee.
Subs: D. McCarthy for Lee, 43; B. Lawton for O’Connor, 49; C. O’Sullivan for O’Donoghue, 58; S. Harnedy for Kelleher, P. Horgan for Walsh, both 62.
UL: D. McCarthy (Glenrue, Limerick); J. Brown (Ballyea, Clare), K. Walsh, (Piltown, Kilkenny), B. Troy (Emeralds, Kilkenny), D. Quinn (Nenagh, Tipperary), D. McInerney (Tulla, Clare)(c), B. Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons, Tipperary), T. Kelly (Ballyea, Clare) S. O’Gorman (Adamstown, Wexford), M. Carmody (Patrickswell, Limerick), C. Martin (Emeralds, Kilkenny), J. Forde (Silvermines, Tipperary), T. Heffernan (Nenagh, Tipperary), T. Cleary (Kiluane McDonaghs, Tipperary), K. O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick).
Subs: PJ Scully (Borris/Kilcotton, Laois) for Cleary (HT); E. Moriarty (Emeralds, Kilkenny) for Walsh, 49; P. Coady (Mt Leinster Rangers, Carlow) for Heffernan, 63; P. Sheehan (Sixmilebridge, Clare) for O’Gorman, 68.
Referee: P. Foley (Waterford).