WITH the number one team away on holidays, the Cork senior hurling selectors availed of the opportunity to try out a second string against UCC in a challenge at the Mardyke yesterday and it proved a worthy exercise.
It was Gerald McCarthy’s first day in charge and the new coach expressed his delight at the standard of play produced by his charges.
“I’m very pleased with this pipe opener. Without going into specifics, it proves again there is plenty of talent in the county, which must be very encouraging for the selectors as we face into a new season,” he said.
“There are a number of young lads out there today who will figure with us this season. Despite the time of the year, they put in a big effort this afternoon and you cannot ask for more than that. Overall, today was a well -worth exercise.”
With every player out to impress, there was a keen edge to a contest played in front of a fine crowd and on a surprisingly firm pitch. Micky O’Connell, who won an All-Ireland senior medal back in 1999, showed he still had something to contribute, scoring three excellent points from midfield.
Cork’s best players were in defence, where Chris Murphy, Cian O’Connor, Shane Murphy, Stephen White and Eoin Cadogan — who was pitted against Limerick’s Ollie Moran — did nothing wrong.
In attack Paudie O’Sullivan added to his growing reputation, scoring 1-5, while Eoin Murphy with five points and Kevin Canty with three also played well.
However, Cork’s performance has to be put into context. UCC were without their Kilkenny seniors John Tennyson and Donncha Cody, plus a couple of other first-choice players and they, like the county selectors, availed of the game to give their Fitzgibbon Cup squad a run.
In the circumstances, coach Mark Landers had to be pleased with the performances of goalkeeper Eanna Martin, who made a number of excellent saves as well as scoring a goal from a penalty; Richie Foley, Aidan Quilligan, Stephen Moylan and Ivan McCarthy.
By agreement the game was played over 70 minutes, two 20-minute periods and two 15-minute periods. Cork made all the early running and led 1-7 to 0-0 after 19 minutes, Paudie O’Sullivan scoring 1-4, before UCC finally got on the score-sheet with a point.
The students improved for the second 20 minutes and a goal by Martin from a penalty gave them renewed enthusiasm, although at the end of that period Cork led 1-13 to 1-4.
Cork continued to hold the upper hand and after 55 minutes they had stretched their lead to 1-18 to 1-5, only the excellent goal-keeping of Martin preventing the students from falling further behind.
The last quarter saw UCC enjoy their best spell, scoring 1-3 without reply, Stephen Moylan being credited with the goal, but they were never going to make up the massive deficit.
Scorers: Cork: P O’Sullivan 1-5 (0-1 free); E Murphy 0-4 (0-1 free); M O’Connell, K Canty 0-3 each; P O’Brien, J O’Callaghan, M Harrington, S White, P Horgan, J Russell 0-1 each. UCC: I McCarthy 0-4 (0-2 frees, 0-1 65); S Moylan 1-1; E Martin 1-0 (pen.); E O’Loughlin, A Quilligan, N Moran, R Foley, S Walsh 0-1 each.
CORK: Shay Bowen; Chris Murphy, Cian O’Connor, Shane Murphy; Stephen White, Eoin Cadogan, Ray Ryan; Micky O’Connell, Mark Harrington; Peter O’Brien, Darren Dineen, Jonathan O’Callaghan; Paudie O’Sullivan, Kevin Canty, Fergus Murphy.
Subs used: Eoin Murphy, John Halbert, Pat Horgan, Colm O’Neill, Aidan Ryan, John Russell.
UCC: E Martin; B Clifford, P Murray, C Hickey; R Foley, J Jordan, A Quilligan; S Cronin, T Óg Murphy; J Nagle, N Moran, W O’Brien; S Moylan, I McCarthy, E O’Loughlin.
Sub: S Walsh.
Referee: A Cummins (Ballymartle).
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