THEY CAME UP short in their last trip to Croke Park but the memories of that Leinster final loss faded for Kilkenny this afternoon as they returned to the last four All-Ireland senior hurling stage.
Brian Cody’s team produced a masterful second-half display to finish six points clear at the final whistle and ensure Cork’s summer ground to a halt in mid-July.
TJ Reid fired 0-10 for the victors with experienced figures Colin Fennelly and Richie Hogan raising the green flags. Substitutes Walter Walsh, Billy Ryan and Bill Sheehan also made their mark. Kilkenny were full value for this success. They trailed by two at the interval but had raced eight clear in the third quarter and that was the defining period of the game.
Patrick Horgan, who finished with 3-10 to his credit, was heroic for Cork and his third goal inspired a fightback from the Rebels. He got great assistance from his attacking colleague Alan Cadogan but it was a below-par afternoon elsewhere for several Cork players and their defence creaked noticeably as the game went on.
The match ebbed and flowed in remarkable fashion in the second half. Kilkenny’s hopes soared after the break, an early boost in the form of a Richie Hogan goal. He slipped in behind the Cork cover to get on the end of a long clearance and was never likely to miss from close range.
They were energised by that, reeling off a succession of points and dominating the middle third. By the 52nd minute, Kilkenny had surged clear by 2-19 to 2-11 to leave Cork in serious bother. Horgan’s third goal inspired a Cork fightback and they managed to cut the deficit to two points approaching the full-time mark, 2-23 to 3-18. Yet Kilkenny kept calm to pop over the last four points of the game and seal their passage to the semi-final contest with Limerick.
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Patrick Horgan on his way to scoring a first-half goal for Cork.
Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Cork swiftly highlighted their attacking threat from the outset. Patrick Horgan struck to the net from a penalty after Seamus Harnedy was fouled and then Alan Cadogan was repelled by superb reflexes from Eoin Murphy. All that happened within the first five minutes as Cork started briskly.
Kilkenny’s retort was telling, reeling off 1-4 without reply. The goal was a sweeping team move downfield and Colin Fennelly surged through before batting home. They were three points clear after 14 minutes, a position that would have left the Noreside faithful satisfied.
Cork clawed their way back into it. Harnedy was impressive as a ball winning outlet while Horgan and Cadogan looked threatening every time they were supplied. Cork struck five points between the 16th and 22nd minutes while they got in for a second goal as the interval approached, Horgan drilling home clinically after a driving run forward by Darragh Fitzgibbon.
And yet Kilkenny matched them stride for stride in the opening period. Reid was his usual reliable self from frees, Conor Fogarty picked off a couple of splendid scores from play. Cadogan and Horgan rounded off the first-half scoring, nudging Cork in front 2-10 to 1-11 at the interval. However they faded badly in the early stages of the second half and Kilkenny were able to move into a winning position.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (0-10f), Richie Hogan 1-2, Colin Fennelly 1-1, Walter Walsh 0-3, John Donnelly, Conor Fogarty, Billy Ryan 0-2 each, Eoin Murphy (0-1f), Conor Browne, Richie Leahy, Adrian Mullen, Bill Sheehan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 3-10 (0-8f, 1-0 pen), Alan Cadogan 0-4, Séamus Harnedy 0-2, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-1 each.
1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)
2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels)
4. Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
5. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)
6. Pádraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
7. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)
of the team
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8. Conor Browne (James Stephens)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own)
10. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12. Richie Leahy (The Rower Inistioge)
13. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. John Donnelly (Thomastown)
22. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon) for Buckley (half-time)
26. Bill Sheehan (Dicksboro) for Hogan (50)
21. James Maher (St Lachtain’s) for Browne (57)
25. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan) for Donnelly (63)
1. Anthony Nash (Kanturk)
2. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
3. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas)
4. Stephen McDonnell (Glen Rovers)
5. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons)
6. Mark Ellis (Millstreet)
7. Mark Coleman (Blarney)
8. Bill Cooper (Youghal)
9. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)
10. Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields)
11. Conor Lehane (Midleton)
12. Luke Meade (Newcestown)
13. Alan Cadogan (Douglas)
14. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers)
15. Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s — captain)
22. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own) for Lehane (45)
24. Shane Kingston (Douglas) for Kearney (47)
21. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum) for Cooper (inj) (49)
17. Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) for O’Donoghue (54)
19. Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh) for Meade (63)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)
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