Cork’s All Star goalkeeper Anthony Nash has revealed how Kilkenny boss Brian Cody urged the Rebels to keep their feet on the ground following last Sunday’s sensational All-Ireland SHC quarter-final win.
Cody visited a jubilant Cork dressing room after the game and stressed there are more hurdles to jump before September silverware is handed over.
“It is only one game. Brian Cody touched on it in our dressing-room,” Nash said. “It’s a quarter-final, let’s just put the head down now for the next two weeks and hopefully give Dublin a right good game as well.”
And Nash strongly rejected suggestions Cork “finished” Kilkenny in Thurles. Describing the Noresiders as “the best team that has lived”, the Kanturk netminder backed them to emerge as a serious force again.
“Just because they were beaten by us doesn’t mean that they’re finished or anything like that,” he said. “We’re underdogs all year. We were underdogs against Clare. According to the bookies we were evens against Limerick and then massive underdogs against Kilkenny. But sure every team going out against Kilkenny is going to be underdogs. and next year it will be the same. They’re a phenomenal side.”
Looking ahead to Cork’s All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin on August 11, Nash believes the Leesiders are coming up against a team “on a phenomenal run”.
“We even spoke about it in the dressing room afterwards. Two weeks to get ready to play the team that has beaten the two best teams in the country [Galway and Kilkenny] from the last few years. We’re going to be underdogs again and rightly so because we’re playing Dublin in their backyard, Croke Park, and we’re going up against a team that’s on a phenomenal run.”
Nash refused to be drawn on Henry Shefflin’s sending-off, pointing out Cork experienced their own red card woe in the Munster final when Patrick Horgan saw red.
“Look, it was very similar to the Munster final. Just before half-time they lost their best forward and the last day we lost our best forward just before half-time. We spoke about bringing our intensity again in the second-half because there’s no point in worrying about them. You saw how they hurled with 14 men.”
Nash also relived his stunning double save after half-time, when he kept out a viciously-struck Richie Power penalty before somehow deflecting away Tommy Walsh’s follow-up. Power buried the first award but Barry Kelly awarded a retake after Walsh encroached.
“Yeah, Tommy Walsh and Pa Cronin kind of ran across. I think if Pa just ran across, he would have let it go. But I think the fact a Kilkenny fella ... sure Jesus he was nearly inside touching my nose! We’re grateful for that, but, in fairness to Barry Kelly, he said beforehand no encroaching, no running, and the fact that there was a couple of Kilkenny fellas did it, I think that’s he blew it back up.
“It was a big moment in the game obviously, if they had got a goal then. I would have felt confident we’d have been able to push on again, but look, we don’t know.”
On the retaken penalty he said modestly: “I don’t know. Sure you don’t know what goes on in your head; your head is completely melted in the middle of a championship match! I don’t really remember it, being honest. You just react.”
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