By Peter McNamara
Manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy offered no excuses in his post-match analysis after Cork were overpowered by Kilkenny in the Allianz NHL Division 1A opener at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
Jonjo Farrell’s eighth-minute goal set the tone for the visitors as the full-forward swept the ball home from close range.
However, it was Kilkenny’s capacity to truly drive on in the first quarter of the second half that hurt Cork the most.
Seamus Harnedy fired over a point on 38 minutes however it represented Cork’s only score from play in the second period until the moment substitute Luke O’Farrell, courtesy of a deft flick, raised a green flag on the hour-mark.
O’Farrell very nearly snatched an unlikely victory for the Rebels with the last puck of the game only for his goal attempt to fly outside of the near post.
However, it would have been more than the Leesiders deserved, and JBM outlined how unimpressive Cork were in front of 8,773 spectators, in the second half.
“The scoreboard at the end certainly flattered us,” Barry-Murphy stated. “Our second half performance was very poor and we were in trouble in a lot of places all over the field.
“We had been reasonably happy with the first-half without being overly-confident. I didn’t think we were playing that well either in the first-half but our second half was very hit and miss. We made an awful lot of elementary mistakes.”
Barry-Murphy, however, praised the depth of quality performers within Kilkenny’s ranks.
The Cats tore into proceedings after the interval and essentially left Cork reeling thereafter, constantly attempting to steady a capsizing ship.
“You all saw the pool of talent that Kilkenny have. They are all very, very good players, very competitive players and it showed us tonight that our play is not as good as we would like it to be.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kilkenny though. Let’s be honest, they have had great success over the last number of years and also at underage levels, success we haven’t had.
“I just thought that their play in the second half was much better than ours,” he said.
JBM was particularly frustrated by the amount of primary and secondary possessions Kilkenny won in the clash.
“I think the amount of breaking ball that we lost was unbelievable. Their ability to win the ball cleanly, and then if it broke to the ground, was far superior to us on the night.
“And it doesn’t get any easier playing Clare in the division next Saturday night. Hopefully, though, we can improve on this display tonight.
“Cormac (Murphy) was very, very good for us on his debut. That was a plus,” he concluded.