Kilkenny tasted defeat for the second week in a row as Cork took a leaf out of Tipperary’s book in their NHL clash at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Cork won by a score of 0-18 to 1-13.
Victory was sweet for the Rebels, who were hammered by Kilkenny in the same competition last year as manager Denis Walsh admitted afterwards.
“There were only seven of today’s 15 who started the match last year, but I’m sure from a Cork hurling point of view this was a matter of pride,” said Walsh after his team’s two point win in a game that saw Cats star Michael Grace sent off just before halftime.
“These guys have been together a long time and the new guys have blended in very well. I think we got the message today they wanted to win in the last quarter of an hour when it was there to be won, and we could easily have left it behind us.
“The spare man probably helped us. I think John Gardiner in particular would have been able to read the play and picked up a few scores.
“We were under a bit of pressure, the lads that came in off the bench did a good job and that makes me enthusiastic going forward.
“Paudie O’Sullivan was very sharp, but we’ve seen that. He was out with an operation on a knee injury for the last month or two but he was very sharp before that. We saw there today, coming in for 20 minutes, everything he touched he was sharp and he was unlucky he didn’t get a goal.”
Kilkenny boss Brian Cody remained positive and said, “There were a lot of good things from our point of view. We were disappointed to lose, as ever, but we were reasonably happy with the performance.”
DUBLIN maintained their impressive NFL form in Saturday night’s Parnell Park 2-11 to 0-9 win over Monaghan as a goal and six points from Bernard Brogan proved decisive, but their coach was more impressed with the effort than the win.
“In every game so far we have got good work-rate but we made a lot of mistakes,” said Dubs boss Gilroy.
“We had two or three goal chances where we just over-passed the ball. But it is March and fellas are going to make those mistakes. You can’t fault the effort.
“We are trying to get guys to work hard all the time. There are new guys coming in and they all seem to be willing to work hard for each other. That’s the important thing and no one was shirking their duties.”
Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney had no problem praising Dublin after his team’s defeat and said, “Dublin worked very hard.
“They have a new group of players there who are prepared to go to the end of the line. Monaghan went a point up at one stage and there was a time down the years where Dublin would have gone away at that stage but they came back harder and faster.
“We’re disappointed. There was a time in the second half when we went a point up and it looked like Monaghan could go on and win it.”
CLUBS in Limerick have made another attempt to have county team manager Justin McCarthy removed from office after his team’s latest NHL defeat, this time to Waterford by a score of 2-20 to 2-10.
But county board PRO Helen Cross has warned the clubs that their motions to force McCarthy out are not legal.
“Justin McCarthy was endorsed as Limerick senior hurling manager last December on a majority of 70-54,” she told the Irish Examiner.
“If the clubs want to re-visit that decision, then, according to general rule, they must submit a notice of motion to the county board -- that is, a motion of no-confidence in Justin McCarthy.
“If they do so, the county board will hold that meeting as quickly as possible. On Saturday night, county secretary Mike O’Riordan wrote to all the clubs informing them of this, updating them on what’s happening.
“He also informed them if they have any difficulty with the actual wording of the motion, he has no difficulty in helping them out.
“We have to do our job, he has to do his; if the wording doesn’t come in properly it would be ruled out of order. I presume they will take his advice, and that they will submit that notice of motion quickly; if that happens, then as soon as we can, we’ll hold that meeting.
“The county board is anxious to have this sorted out as soon as possible. It’s been going on since last October, it’s a headache for everyone. In the best interests of Limerick hurling it has to be sorted out now.”
TYRONE finally kick-started their NFL season as Ryan Mellon inspired them to a 3-9 to 0-16 victory over visitors Cork, much to the relief of manager Mickey Harte.
“It’s a case of a job well done, a lot more to be done, and we need to build on that performance, we can’t rest on it,” said Harte after goals from Colm Cavanagh, Tommy McGuigan and Mellon proved vital.
“It was a strange game I suppose in many ways. I think we opened very brightly, and went to a four-one lead. But to lose seven points in a row after that, or maybe eight, it just seemed unreal.
“And you wondered where were we going to get the energy out of to fix this again. But goals are very important in games. Colm Cavanagh tucked his away lovely and that gave us a real lift. And then getting another goal before halftime.
“We probably didn’t believe the position we were in at halftime, given how we were five or six minutes before it. But that’s what persistence is about, and there’s a great belief in this team.”
Cork manager Conor Counihan said afterwards, “We’re disappointed, obviously. We had our opportunities, but Tyrone took theirs.”
TIPPERARY maintained their recent form with a 2-17 to 0-14 win over Galway in the NHL that silenced visiting boss John McIntyre.
The Galway coach, a journalist by professional, refused to speak to the media after his team were taught a second half lesson by Tipp.
But winning boss Liam Sheedy was more than happy to talk and said, “Words at cheap, at the end of the day, it is hurling that counts.
“In fairness, we were disappointed with the first half performance, but there was a stiff enough breeze down there. Even allowing for that, we didn’t attack the ball at all. Thankfully, there was a second half!
“We were lucky to be within four points at halftime. We were lucky to get the goal. I mean, the goal was a great flick by Johnno O’Brien but we were not in a position where were expecting a goal.”
GALWAY were left to count the cost of Sunday’s home NFL defeat to Kerry on more than one front as star attacker Michael Meehan suffered a serious injury.
The westerners lost by 10 points to the All-Ireland champions as Meehan picked up a serious knee injury as he scored their first-half goal.
“We won’t know the full extent of the injury until he gets an MRI scan but Michael’s injury is nearly worse than the result because it’s another class player out for a while,” said Galway boss Joe Kernan afterwards.
“As for the game it was boys against men out there today, especially in the second half.”
Kerry boss Jack O’Connor was happy with his lot as he left Salthill and said, “Overall, we are happy. Whether we can replace the great players that are gone I don’t know, but these players want to play, they want the shirt and they are mad for road.”
HOME boss Paddy O’Rourke got the upperhand on Armagh old boy Kieran McGeeney as Kildare were well beaten in the NFL clash in Crossmaglen by a score of 0-13 to 0-5.
“We played well as a unit and that is important. I thought we imposed ourselves at midfield despite the absence of people like James Lavery and Charlie Vernon and that laid the basis for our win,” said O’Rourke after his team’s third NFL win.
“But we will just keep our focus on trying to win as many games as we can. This win is a boost going in against Down, that will be a crucial test for us.”