Kilkenny show depth as Cork simply outclassed

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A: Cork 2-17 Kilkenny 1-22: The names may change, but the work-rate stays the same.

Kilkenny show depth as Cork simply outclassed

Kilkenny rolled into Cork on Saturday night with a stellar cast missing from their ranks, but they rolled back east with the win all the same, having outworked their opponents from start to finish.

Disregard the late, late goal chance that would have snatched victory for Cork: their own manager said the margin of defeat was misleading.

“Yeah, I think it flattered us, certainly,” said Jimmy Barry-Murphy of the final score.

“Our second-half performance was very poor, in trouble in a lot of places all over the field.”

His opposite number wasn’t entirely in agreement, given their late scare.

“The scoreboard matters and we won by what, two points,” said Brian Cody. “If that ball had gone into the net we’d have lost, so it wouldn’t have been much good to us saying we were the better team. The better team wins, that’s it.”

They were the better team, though. Kilkenny’s third quarter won them the game on the scoreboard, as they outscored Cork six points to one, but their application and work-rate were first class all through. That was the difference between the teams, even if the Cats boss was playing it down a little at the final whistle: “That’s what you have to have. There’s no point in coming down to play Cork on a Saturday evening and not giving 100%. That shouldn’t be mysterious, to be honest.

“The honesty was there, the work-rate was there. We got a bit of a lead, eight points up, but that’s nothing. Cork had a shot for goal... the game goes ahead, it ebbs and it flows and you can never presume you have it won.

“It’d be easy for people to think ‘we have it’ but we didn’t. We had to go to the very end. That’s the reality of the game.”

Kilkenny had a strong defensive spine in Paul Murphy and Ciaran Joyce, giving them a solid platform from which to attack. Up front, an impressive Richie Hogan was supported well by Mark Kelly, but every player worked hard, as exemplified by their goal on nine minutes.

Walter Walsh forced a good save from Cork keeper Anthony Nash. The ball may have crept over the line, but Kilkenny full-forward Jonjo Farrell was first to react anyway, diving in on the loose ball to make sure.

That made it 1-3 to 0-3 and while Daniel Kearney and Mark Ellis came into the game more for Cork and began to feed the forwards, the home side couldn’t close the gap — Kilkenny had three of the last four points of the first half, to leave them 1-11 to 0-12 ahead at the break.

Kilkenny eased away from Cork in the third quarter and at one stage led 1-19 to 0-14, Hogan and Kelly pulling the strings. The men in red were struggling badly, as Barry-Murphy admitted later.

“We were reasonably happy with the first half, without being overly confident. I didn’t think we played that well in the first half, but our second half was very hit and miss. A lot of mistakes and you saw the pool of talent Kilkenny have.

“Very good players, very competitive and they just showed us up tonight — our play wasn’t as good as we’d like it to be.”

With 10 minutes left, however, substitute O’Farrell nudged home a Cormac Murphy delivery to rally Cork. His goal was followed in injury time by another, Conor Lehane pulling first-time to find the net as another Murphy delivery landed in the square. O’Farrell nearly produced that fairytale ending when he collected a Patrick Horgan delivery but drove the ball just wide.

It was a good scalp for an understrength Kilkenny side, though that mightn’t be the term their manager would use.

“It was good, but the reality is that all the players who played have been around the panel for quite a while,” said Brian Cody.

“We talk about our panel more than we talk about our team. We don’t have a team that’s cast in stone. The Kilkenny senior team was playing tonight and that’s it.

“There’s no such thing as a fella guaranteed to play, and the lads played with that kind of realisation; that there’s a fierce opportunity there for them. It was a good performance.

“Those (work-rate, application) should be a given, and they were a given and they are — that’s encouraging.”

Or intimidating, depending on where you’re from. Kilkenny will welcome back some big guns in a few weeks for a shot of adrenaline before the championship. Cork’s personnel, by contrast, were almost all on show last Saturday evening.

Scorers for Cork: P. Horgan 0-9 (0-8 fs); C. Lehane 1-2; L. O’Farrell 1-0; A. Cadogan 0-2; P. O’Sullivan, S. Harnedy, D. Kearney and B. Cooper 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: R. Hogan 0-11 (0-7 fs, 0-1 65); M. Kelly 0-4; W. Walsh 0-3, J. Farrell 1-0; P. Walsh, M. Ruth, L. Ryan and K. Joyce 0-1 each.

Subs for Cork: L. McLoughlin for Cronin, 45; L. O’Farrell for O’Sullivan and C. McCarthy for Cooper, 48; S. O’Neill for Cahalane, 57; S. Moylan for Cadogan, 65.

Subs for Kilkenny : G. Brennan for Fogarty, 16.

Referee: J. Owens (Wexford).

CORK: A Nash; D Cahalane, C Joyce, C O’Sullivan; C Murphy, M Ellis, A Walsh; D Kearney, P Cronin; S Harnedy, B Cooper, C Lehane; A Cadogan, P O’Sullivan , P Horgan. KILKENNY: E Murphy; T Keogh, P Murphy, J Tyrrell; B Kennedy; K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty, L Ryan; P Walsh, W Walsh, M Ruth (0-1); M Kelly, J Farrell, R Hogan.

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