The Rock: Anthony Nash showed great character as Cork's top keeper

The Rock: Anthony Nash showed great character as Cork's top keeper

Goalkeeper Anthony Nash bows out after a great run as Cork number one. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

CORK senior hurling selector, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, had the highest praise for retiring goalkeeper, Anthony Nash.

The Kanturk clubman has been Cork’s last line of defence since 2012 and he was rewarded with three Munster titles and a brace of All-Stars and will be remembered as a custodian of the highest quality.

He did not get his hands on a Celtic Cross, but that should not detract from the fact that he was one of the country’s best number-ones over the past nine years.

“Anthony, first and foremost, was a wonderful guy,” O’Sullivan told The Echo. “He has been an outstanding servant to Cork hurling for a lengthy period of time and anything he won, a few Munster titles and the All-Stars, was fully deserved. He had to bide his time before he got the number-one jersey; he waited and waited and that was not an easy thing to do.

Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

“A lot of other guys would have walked away; it was a test of his character to wait for his opportunity and when he got it, he took it,” O’Sullivan said.

“I played with him and was involved as a coach and selector with him and he had fantastic ability.

“He moved goalkeeping on to a different level. Goalkeeping, even since my playing days, has moved on to a different level altogether: It’s a unique art and only the best make it to the top."

DEDICATION

According to the former Cork great from Cloyne, O’Sullivan put in the hard work to become what he was and will continue to be with his club, Kanturk.

“As a goalkeeper on an inter-county team, you are the focus of so much attention,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s a position that carries a huge responsibility and you have to be strong mentally, as well as everything else, to make it to the top.

“You have to deal with a lot of stuff in there, be able to put a mistake you might make quickly behind you and move on. Obviously, stopping the ball is the first priority, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Diarmuid O'Sullivan consoles Anthony Nash after his last game. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Diarmuid O'Sullivan consoles Anthony Nash after his last game. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

“Anthony was a guy who put fierce store into the design of his puck-outs, practising that design of those puck-outs, which will be of benefit to the team out the field." 

The Rock said: “Goalkeepers have their own coaches now, because of what the job entails. Look, Nash always played to a very, very high standard; he never shirked responsibility.

“If a puck-out went astray, he was the first to put up his hand. His consistency and longevity were other standout features and it was unfortunate that he did not win an All-Ireland. But he has some wonderful rewards to look back on during a great Cork career: Three Munster medals [on the field], two All-Stars; he was first-class and he can go on and play for Kanturk for the next 10 years.

At the new Lidl store in Kanturk were manager Andrius Vasiliauskas and Nash. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
At the new Lidl store in Kanturk were manager Andrius Vasiliauskas and Nash. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cork County Board PRO, Joe Blake, said of Kanturk man Nash: “He was a fantastic goalkeeper and hurler. He was a huge influence at both ends of the field, as a shot-stopper of excellence and with his puck-outs, which he worked so hard on.

“His ability to convert close-in frees and penalties and to take long-range points were other standout features of his game and, from my own dealings with him, he was a gentleman to deal with.

“Down through the years, Cork hurling has produced some outstanding goalkeepers and Anthony was right up there with them.

“On behalf of the County Board, I thank him for his wonderful service and wish him so well in his continuing career with Kanturk.”

Nobody will argue with those tributes. I had the privilege of watching some great Cork keepers in action, going back to the time of the late, great Mick Cashman.

He had many worthy successors, who gave Cork hurling Trojan service, many of them for a very lengthy period. The art of goalkeeping is developing and Nash is responsible for a lot of that.

His attention to detail was first class and the long hours of practise yielded a rich dividend. In the pantheon of great Cork hurling goalkeepers, Nash is right up there alongside them all.

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