Kilkenny beat Cork in Allianz Hurling League Rd 2


Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A

Kilkenny 0-21 Cork 1-17

By Stephen Barry at Supervalu Páirc Uí Chaoimh

John Donnelly struck the 71st-minute winner as Kilkenny condemned Cork to back-to-back Allianz League losses despite a stirring comeback in front of 16,274 fans at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The Cats led by nine early in the first half as Cork failed to get into gear, but the hosts could’ve won it only for some wasteful shooting and bad decisions in front of goal.

Led by Conor Lehane, the sides were level five times in the final quarter before Donnelly gave Kilkenny their first League win after last week’s draw with Wexford.

Derek Lyng welcomed back Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, John Donnelly, debutant Luke Hogan, and Walter Walsh from their All-Ireland Club Championship exploits with O’Loughlin Gaels, Thomastown, and Tullogher-Rosbercon in a strengthened away team.

Pat Ryan, meanwhile, gave first involvements of the year to Eoin Downey and Tim O’Mahony in defence among five changes.

The opening half-hour saw Cork woefully off the pace. The home crowd grew restless as they fell nine points behind within 23 minutes.

Kilkenny were bringing all the urgency, while Ballyhale Shamrocks teammates Eoin Cody and Adrian Mullen provided the touches of class. Cody slotted a spectacular early pair from play, while Mullen was left wide open for his trio. He ended with 0-5 to his name.

Cody could’ve added a goal in the fourth minute, but Patrick Collins trapped the low shot under his body.

The Rebels totted up just two points in the first 20 minutes, a Patrick Horgan free and another from Lehane, by which time Kilkenny had 0-10 on the board.

Cork did give the crowd something to cheer late on by finishing the half with a 1-3 streak. Tommy O’Connell, O’Mahony, and a Horgan free were followed by a goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

Seán Twomey picked up the puck-out and his super reverse pass sent Conor O’Callaghan in on goal. The Dromtarriffe man is more known as a defender but he sniped a low shot to the back of the net.

The gap was just three at half-time, 0-13 to 1-7.

They almost look another bite out of the deficit on the restart. Horgan’s overhead pull bounced wide but Twomey, once again the supplier, might have been better to take on the shot himself.

Shane Kingston twice got a run on goal in the space of a minute but the first pass didn’t go to hand and the second was saved by Eoin Murphy.

They still clipped five points on the trot and when Lehane fizzed a low shot over the crossbar, the sides were level for the first time all day. The cheers from the crowd grew even louder when Mark Coleman made his return from injury after missing the entire 2023 season.

Lehane’s fourth after a searing run gave Cork their first lead, but it didn’t last long in a nip-and-tuck finish.

Walter Walsh could’ve sealed it for the Cats after Billy Drennan steered the sliotar into his path, but he didn’t make a clean connection and Collins saved.

After Donnelly put Kilkenny back ahead, Cork could’ve won it. Kingston raced clear, but twice failed to rise the sliotar, while a Horgan flick rolled across the goalmouth.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Eoin Cody 0-7 (5fs), A Mullen 0-5, B Drennan 0-3 (2fs), C Kenny, J Donnelly 0-2 each, Shane Murphy, M Carey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-9 (9fs), C Lehane 0-4, C O’Callaghan 1-0, T O’Mahony, T O’Connell, R O’Flynn, S Barrett 0-1 each.

Cork: Patrick Collins; Eoin Downey, Eoin Roche, Seán O’Donoghue; Tim O’Mahony, Niall O’Leary, Rob Downey; Tommy O’Connell, Conor O’Callaghan; Luke Meade, Conor Lehane, Seán Twomey; Robbie O’Flynn, Patrick Horgan, Shane Kingston.

Subs: Ger Mellerick for R Downey (21, inj), Brian Roche for Meade (HT), Ethan Twomey for O’Callaghan (43), Shane Barrett for O’Flynn (44), Mark Coleman for E Downey (49, inj).

Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Tommy Walsh; David Blanchfield, Darragh Corcoran, Shane Murphy; Cian Kenny, Mikey Carey; Conor Heary, John Donnelly, Adrian Mullen; Billy Ryan, Luke Hogan, Eoin Cody.

Subs: Martin Keoghan for Ryan (HT), Billy Drennan for Hogan (46), Kevin Blanchfield for Carey (51), Walter Walsh for Heary (55), Peter McDonald for Kenny (64).

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).