Allianz HL Division 1 - Clare v Cork
The Banner County beat Tipperary in their league opener and were too good for Kilkenny in their last outing — little wonder Meyler describes tomorrow’s game (Cusack Park, 2pm) as a “massive challenge” for his Cork side.
“What I felt is that Clare had done a lot of hard training, had prepared very well going back to their trip to the Super 11s in America.
“Word came back from Boston that time was that they were absolutely flying — that they’d done a lot of work and focused on that competition, and they won it. I wasn’t over there for those games but they were obviously very serious about it, and even then, in November, they clearly had a lot of work done.
“They’ve since won their first two matches in the league and looked very promising against Tipperary. They blitzed Kilkenny in the first half of their last game, even if Kilkenny came back at them after half-time.
“They look very sharp, but given the fellas they have playing Fitzgibbon Cup that’s hardly surprising.
“Someone like Tony Kelly was out during the week in the Fitzgibbon so he, and the rest of them, will be very sharp. Cork opened with a home win over Kilkenny but lost to Wexford away in their last game. Meyler saw plenty to cheer him in Cork’s display, though.
“There were huge positives out of it for us, particularly the fact that we created those goal chances near the end, and we had a few fellas back for their first game — the likes of Bill Cooper and Patrick Horgan were getting back into it while we rested the likes of Colm Spillane.
“We’d like to have taken those goal chancesand that’s one of the lessons we took out of it — the need to be ruthless when we get those chances.
“If either of those had gone in I think we’d have gone on and won the game.”
Young ‘keeper Patrick Collins has had two good outings for Cork but Anthony Nash, fresh from Kanturk’s All-Ireland intermediate club win, brings a wealth of big-game nous to the dressing-room.
“Anthony will bring some good experience back. Pa has been outstanding for us, no question about that, but Nash brings that level of experience into the group.
“Particularly in tough, challenging away games, that kind of experience is invaluable. A guy who’s been there and done it and knows what’s involved, that’s a big plus when it can be unfair to expect a 20-year-old to go out and win a match.
“A guy that age doesn’t have the background, doesn’t have the lessons to call on, he doesn’t have that background built up in him, so it’s getting that mixture right is the challenge.
“We’re trying to get it right now and to make sure it’s right for the championship down the line.”
Part of that challenge is dealing with injuries: Meyler says Cork have quite a few in the sick bay at the moment.
“Damien Cahalane is out, he hurt his knee against Wexford so he’s gone for a bit. Michael Cahalane has a calf-hamstring issue, and I’d been hoping to give him a go.
“Mark Coleman, hopefully, should be back, but he hasn’t played for a month. Dean Brosnan should be back. They’re recovering from slight hamstrings.
“Darren Browne has had no go because he’s been involved with Kanturk in the All-Ireland intermediate club run, so hopefully we’ll give him a run-out tomorrow.
“Other fellas like Luke Meade have been involved in Fitzgibbon — he’s been out with Mary I — and the likes of Sean O’Donoghue and Tim O’Mahony are fellas you want to continue with, Robbie O’Flynn is another.”