Allianz HL D1A: Kilkenny earn first victory
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
KILKENNY 0-22 CORK 0-15
The third time proved to be a charm as Kilkenny finally picked their first win in the Allianz Hurling League.
A run of six unanswered points did the trick as the Cats blasted their way past Cork’s challenge at Nowlan Park.
A point up at the break (0-11 to 0-10), Kilkenny were hauled back level by Cork before they hit the gas and raced away. Walter Walsh got them going with a 41st minute point, a score which was quickly followed by a T.J. Reid free. Walsh helped himself to another point soon after before, in their best move of the match, he knocked down a Reid cross for Richie Hogan to split the posts.
The Cats kept their good run going after that, ending a blistering five-minute spell with further minor scores from Conor Martin and Hogan. When the dust had settled, they were 0-18 to 0-12 in front; a first league win of 2017 beckoned.
Kilkenny had been just as swift to get things going from throw-in, opening well with pointed frees from Reid and goalkeeper Eoin Murphy, but a like score from Conor Lehane kept the Rebels in close contention.
Cork took time to get into the game but were level by the 11th minute, Lehane and Seamus Harnedy finding the points to cancel out more scores from Walter Walsh and Richie Leahy to make it 0-4 apiece.
The sides were level again on two more occasions, but a fine Reid free from half-way, followed by a Richie Hogan score, pushed the Cats back in front again. They stretched their lead to three late on, Reid and Murphy pointing frees (the latter from inside his own half) to make it 0-10 to 0-7, but a late surge from Lehane - he converted two 65s and a free in the closing minutes - ensured Cork were breathing down Kilkenny necks at half-time (0-11 to 0-10).
That second half scoring charge from Kilkenny changed the game’s complexion, as the Cats fashioned a lead they wouldn’t lose. Cork were shut out of the game when sub Cormac Murphy was red-carded nine minutes from time.
Kilkenny pushed on, but the goal they craved never game. Colin Fennelly went close twice, but was denied each time by good saves from Anthony Nash.
They didn’t need the goal in the end, as late points from Reid and man of the match Hogan earned Brian Cody’s side their first Division 1A win of the campaign.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-7 (6fs), Richie Hogan 0-5, Richie Leahy and Walter Walsh 0-3 each, Eoin Murphy 0-2 (2fs), Cillian Buckley and Conor Martin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Conor Lehane 0-10 (4fs, 365s), Alan Cadogan 0-2, Bill Cooper, Dean Brosnan, Seamus Harnedy 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Padraig Walsh, Conor O’Shea; Conor Fogarty, Jason Cleere, Kieran Joyce; Cillian Buckley, Paddy Deegan; Richie Leahy, Richie Hogan, Colin Fennelly; Conor Martin, T.J. Reid, Walter Walsh.
Subs: Shane Prendergast for Joyce (36); James Maher for Leahy (64).
CORK: Anthony Nash; Killian Burke, Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane; Christopher Joyce, Mark Ellis, Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper, Daniel Kearney; Dean Brosnan, Conor Lehane, Shane Kingston; Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy, Luke Meade.
Subs: Cormac Murphy for Kearney (22); Stephen McDonnell for Burke (57); Patrick Horgan for Kingston (57); Luke O’Farrell for Meade (63).
REFEREE: James McGrath (Westmeath).