Pat Ryan's Cork reign off to winning start as Rebels beat Kerry

Visitors triumph by 13 points in Tralee
Pat Ryan's Cork reign off to winning start as Rebels beat Kerry

Cork's Ethan Twomey tries to get his shot away despite the attentions of Kerry's Cillian Trant in the Co-op SuperStores Munster Hurling League game at Austin Stack Park in Tralee.

Cork 2-30 Kerry 2-17

As expected, Pat Ryan’s reign as Cork hurling manager began with a relatively comfortable win over Kerry in Austin Stack Park on Thursday night.

The Rebels were strong favourites to triumph in this Co-op SuperStores Munster Hurling League clash and had 13 points to spare at the end. Even so, their hosts were only outscored by a point after half-time and the manner of the concession of two goals in the second half will be something for Cork to look at.

The Cork team featured a mix of established names and newcomers looking to make their case. Of the debutants, Ethan Twomey and Sam Quirke did well at midfield before both were called ashore while Cormac Beausang landed four points from left half-forward. In the second half, Colin Walsh, Brian Roche and Brian O'Sullivan got on the scoresheet.

Declan Dalton, returning after missing the entire 2022 inter-county season, was prominent at full-forward and Alan Cadogan displayed plenty of hunger at corner-forward too.

Kerry did lead as Shane Conway – who has starred in the Fitzgibbon Cup for UCC – landed a point after 15 seconds and again as Podge Boyle’s free answered Shane Kingston’s opener for Cork, the rest of the half belonged to the visitors.

Cork’s physical work was evident as they tackled strongly and made it difficult for Kerry to make headway. At the other end, Kingston converted the bull of the frees that came Cork’s way and they were 0-8 to 0-2 ahead by the 14th minute, with Beausang, Dalton and Cadogan all scoring as Conor Lehane and Twomey provided good support play.

Kerry did score three of the next four points, Boyle and Conway on target, but those efforts were punctuated by two goal opportunities for Cork, with goalkeeper John B O’Halloran coming to Kerry’s rescue on each occasion. First, Dalton blocked a clearance and found Cadogan, who was denied; then Kingston played a one-two with Dalton but he wasn’t able to find a way past, either.

After Lehane, set up by his fellow Midleton man Quirke, made it 0-10 to 0-5, Cork had their goal after Dalton converted a penalty. The Fr O’Neills man was fouled by Evan Murphy as he gathered Twomey’s delivery and drilled his shot high to the corner of the net, giving O’Halloran no chance.

Cork pushed on from there to half-time and retired with a healthy 1-16 to 0-7 interval advantage.

Though there was a worry as Kingston was forced off early in the second half with what looked like a groin injury – Cork already have Mark Coleman, Alan Connolly and Darragh Fitzgibbon on the injured list – but the flow of scores continued.

Kingston’s replacement Shane Barrett landed a point on his arrival and then scored a well-taken goal, with fellow sub Luke Meade the provider. That made it 2-17 to 0-8 but Kerry did eat into the lead as Boyle’s free from deep went all the way to the net after a mix-up in the Cork defence. When the full-forward struck again on 50, the score was 2-20 to 2-8 for the visitors.

Such a cushion was never going to be eroded to any great degree though and Cork eased to the win, though there was another injury worry as Ben Cunningham had to depart just minutes after being brought on.

Next up for Cork is UCC in the Canon O’Brien Cup next Tuesday before Limerick visit Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday week for what is likely to effectively be a play-off for a place in the final of the competition.

Scorers for Cork: D Dalton 1-7 (1-0 penalty, 0-2f), S Kingston 0-6 (0-5f), S Barrett 1-3 (0-1f), A Cadogan 0-4, C Beausang, C Lehane 0-3 each, B Roche, C Walsh, T O’Connell, B O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Kerry: P Boyle 2-7 (1-5f), J Conway, S Conway, K Carmody 0-2 each, F Mackessy, D Goggin, N Mulcahy, K O’Connor 0-1 each.

CORK: G Collins (Ballinhassig); S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), N O’Leary (Castlelyons), E Roche (Bride Rovers); M Keane (Ballygiblin), T O’Connell (Midleton), R Downey (Glen Rovers); E Twomey (St Finbarr’s), S Quirke (Midleton); B Roche (Bride Rovers), C Lehane (Midleton), C Beausang (Midleton); A Cadogan (Douglas), D Dalton (Fr O’Neills), S Kingston (Douglas).

Subs: C Joyce (Castlemartyr) for Keane, L Meade (Newcestown) for Twomey, C Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) for Beausang (all half-time), B O’Sullivan (Kanturk) for Quirke (43), B Cunningham (St Finbarr’s) for Lehane (52), C Walsh (Kanturk) for Cunningham (55, injured).

KERRY: JB O’Halloran; C O’Keeffe, M Boyle, E Murphy; K O’Connor, F Mackessy, S Weir; M Leane, C Trant; J Conway, C Walsh, S Conway; G Dooley, P Boyle, D Collins.

Subs: M Madden for O’Keeffe (26-27, temporary), M Madden for Trant (42), N Mulcahy for Dooley (43), T Brick for O’Keeffe (45, injured), K Carmody for Weir (46), P Lucid for Collins (50), D Goggin for Walsh (54), M Heffernan for S Conway (62), B Lonergan for Mackessy, R Heffernan for Boyle (both 66).

Referee: A Tierney (Tipperary).

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