Cork over power Kilkenny in closing straight (John Knox)
Cork out-scored Kilkenny by five points to two during the dying stages to win a high scoring and hugely entertaining Allianz National Hurling League opening round game at Pairc Ui Chaoimh this evening.
The Cats had been in the contest right to the finish, but they couldn’t get the goal they needed to force a draw.
Walter Walsh shot a great point in the 63rd minute to level the scores for the 13th time (1-19 to 0-22) in a contest that was close all the way.
Just after that score, driving Kilkenny captain, Cillian Buckley, received an injury and play was held up for a number of minutes as the Dicksboro man was stretchered from the field.
However, when the action resumed Kilkenny lost a beat and within minutes they were behind to points from Conor Lehane (free) and a super score from Jack O’Connor as the home side bolted for home.
When Shane Kingston snapped up a breaking ball near the Kilkenny goal to shoot Cork 1-22 to 0-22 in front on 73 minutes, the momentum was with the home side.
The losers chased hard to the bitter end, but they couldn’t save the match after what had been a most pleasing effort by a largely young and inexperienced crew.
Kilkenny management suggested afterwards that Buckley should be okay and ready for the next game against Clare at Nowlan Park tomorrow week.
The game got off to a flying start, and the scoring blast that saw Cork shoot a point (Robbie O Floinn) and goal (Shane Kingston) within two mintues of the throw-in was maintained right up to the break.
The pace of the game was unreal for a first round match. Kilkenny shrugged off their slow start and points from Pat Lyng, James Maher and team captain Cillian Buckley at the double levelled the scores after a little more than six minutes of free flowing action.
That was the first of nine occasions the teams were to be level during the half, with both sides having their moments in front.
At half-time Kilkenny led by 0-15 to 1-11, the lovely dividing point having been posted by Alan Murphy in the 36th minute after the ball was worked through the hands of three players.
Cork went close to scoring a second goal in the 28th minute, but Kilkenny ‘keeper, Eoin Murphy, who scored two lovely long range frees during the half, pulled off a blinding save from a whistling shot from Seamus Harnedy.
That was Pairc Ui Chaoimh – fast, open, free flowing hurling.
SCORERS: Cork – Conor Lehane (0-11); Shanee Kingston (1-1); Seamus Harnedy (0-3); Robbie O Floinn (0-2); Colm Spillane, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mark Ellis, Alan Cadogan, Luke Meade, Jack O’Connor, Daniel Kearney (0-1 each). Kilkenny – Alan Murphy (0-5); Cillian Buckley, Richie Reid, T.J. Reid (0-3 each); Eoin Murphy, Walter Walsh (0-2 each); Padraig Walsh, Conor Fogarty, James Maher, Martin Keoghan, Pat Lyng, Conor Martin (0-1 each).
Kilkenny – Eoin Murphy; Joey Holden, Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Conor O’Shea, Joe Lyng, Cillian Buckley (capt); Conor Fogarty, James Maher; Martin Keoghan, Richie Reid, Pat Lyng; Alan Murphy, Walter Walsh, Conor Martin. Subs – John Donnelly for Martin; T.J. Reid for Keoghan; Liam Blanchfield for A. Murphy; Richie Leahy for J. Maher; Enda Morrissey for C. Buckley (inj).
Cork – Patrick Collins; Daniel Kearney, Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane; Christopher Joyce, Tim O’Mahony, Sean O’Donoghue; Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mark Ellis; Robbie O Floinn, Conor Lehane, Brian Lawton; Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy, Shane Kingston. Subs – Luke Meade for B. Lawton; Michael Cahalane for R. O Floinn; Jack O’Connor for A. Cadogan.
Referee – Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).