Allianz NHL Division 1 – Cork 2-21 Limerick 1-14

Déjà vu all over again

Cork 2-21 Limerick 1-14

By Diarmuid O’Flynn from the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 01, 2010

DON’T be fooled by the scoreline above, especially if you’re a Limerick hurling supporter. As they did in their League opener last week against Galway in Kilmallock, Limerick tried, gallantly and gamely, and in Shane O’Neill, Nicky Quaid, Paul Browne, Brian O’Sullivan and Thomas O’Brien they had players of real class. Overall, however, they are simply not good enough for this level. Any time Cork needed to up the ante, they did so, brushing the youngsters in green aside. At the start of the match, Cork blasted into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead with giant full-forward Michael Cussen, in his first league start, claiming 1-1. Then before the break, after Limerick had cut the gap to a goal, Cork again pushed on and tapped over three quick points to lead 1-10 to 0-7 at the interval.

On the restart Limerick had a quick point from free-taker Alan O’Connor, but this merely served as another reminder for Cork, and a four-point burst from the hitherto misfiring Pat Horgan took the visitors well clear again. From there to the end it was simply going through the motions, not related to a contest as the game played out to its inevitable conclusion. Both managers filled their full quota of subs, and for Cork, young Cian McCarthy looked especially sharp, notched 1-1, Aisake O hAilpín looked hungry for action, as did Niall McCarthy. “I felt we could have been closer,” Limerick boss Justin McCarthy said afterwards. “We made a few mistakes which changed the course of the game. Overall, I couldn’t fault the players for their commitment and endeavour.”

No-one could, any more than you’d fault a game novice hurdler that has just been swallowed up in a Champion Chase. What chance then that novice hurdler, however gutsy and committed, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup? What will happen this Limerick team when the sod is dry, the ball flying, the crowds roaring? How would Limerick do against a fully committed Cork team with the Newtown contingent – Cathal Naughton and the twins, Ben and Jerry O’Connor – back in harness, along with Seán Óg O hAilpín, Donal Óg Cusack? Whatever about Limerick, this was a difficult game for Cork. “You can’t win really,” said Cork boss Denis Walsh. “If you only scrape home, or if you win by three or four goals, you still can’t win. We lacked a bit of urgency, and what’s the reason for that? We probably weren’t clued in properly, which is disappointing. At times we had it but then it would fade again. I’d say the lads are a bit disappointed after this. I know 2-21 is good scoring, and we got 1-22 last week against Offaly – but I think the lads will be disappointed with their inconsistency.”

As for the situation in which Justin McCarthy finds himself, 27 of last year’s panel out of the picture, as a former long-time work colleague of the Limerick manager, on a personal level Walsh can certainly sympathise with his plight, but he wasn’t about to be drawn. “We had our own situation in Cork last year. I was brought into that, maybe because I kept my mouth shut, so I have no intention of saying anything now either, because I don’t know anything about it,’’ Walsh said. Meanwhile, Limerick and McCarthy get ready for Waterford. “We’ll regroup, we’ll look at it, we’ll talk about it, but we’re learning all the time,’’ he said. So much to learn, however, so much to learn.

Scorers for Limerick: T. O’Brien 1-2 (0-2 frees); A. O’Connor 0-4 (all frees); B. O’Sullivan 0-2; P. Browne 0-2; N. Quaid 0-2; P. McNamara, G. Mulcahy, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: M. Cussen 1-5; P. Horgan 0-6 (0-4 frees); C. McCarthy 1-1; J. Gardiner 0-4 (0-1 free, 0-2 65s); K. Murphy 0-2; M. O’Sullivan, G. Calnan, N. McCarthy, 0-1 each.

Subs for Limerick: M. Deegan (Carr inj. 30); T. O’Brien (Owens 42); P. Harty (Brennan inj. 49); C. Hayes (Kenny 52); D. Moore (O’Connor 61).

Subs for Cork: C. McCarthy (O’Leary 52); A. O hAilpín (M. O’Sullivan 57); N. McCarthy (Calnan 65); A. Ryan (O’Neill 68).

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath) – Good job.

Cussen shines for dominant Rebels

From the GAA.ie web site

Feb 27, 2010

Michael Cussen scored 1-5 from play in Cork’s 2-21 to 1-14 Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division One defeat of Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday night. The Sarsfields clubman, who quit the Cork football panel to concentrate on hurling this year, gave a superb performance against a Limerick team that competed well in the first half but wilted badly after the break. Limerick trailed 1-10 to 0-7 at the interval after a brave showing, but the Rebels upped the intensity of their game at the start of the second half and eased to a ten-point victory.

Cussen, who was named in the Cork team at full-forward ahead of Aisake ÓhAilpín, did his hopes of staking a permanent place in the Cork attack no harm when he drilled home a fine goal in the fourth minute. Cussen showed a wonderful first touch to take a long ball on the run and slammed a shot past Tadhg Flynn in the Limerick goal. Limerick responded with a sublime solo effort from Nicky Quaid, but the Rebels could have grabbed a second goal a minute later had Kieran Murphy not blasted over the bar when the goal was at his mercy.

Cork looked like running away with the game early on as John Gardiner and Cussen gave them a 1-4 to 0-1 lead. However, Justin McCarthy’s side showed great heart and hit back with points from Brian O’Sullivan, Quaid and a pair of Alan O’Connor frees. Indeed, when Paul Browne and Paudie McNamara – two of the players who featured in Limerick’s 2009 Championship panel – found the target, Limerick had reduced the gap to 1-7 to 0-7.

However, Cork finished the half with three points without reply as Cussen again showed his worth with a fine score, Gardiner struck his third of the half, and Patrick Horgan arrowed a free over the bar to give Cork a 1-10 to 0-7 lead. Cork corner forward Patrick Horgan hit four points in a row after the break before substitute Thomas O’Brien briefly gave Limerick hope with a 48th minute goal. However, the Rebels once again responded impressively, with Cussen adding two more points from play to his total, while the ever willing Brian McCarthy pulled one back for Limerick. The game was long over as a contest, but Cork substitute Cian McCarthy wasn’t finished and he added another goal with four minutes left on the clock to complete the rout.

Team News

CORK (SH v Limerick): M Coleman; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, C O’Sullivan; B Murphy, R Curran, R Ryan; J Gardiner, T Kenny; F O’Leary, M O’Sullivan, G Calnan; K Murphy (capt.), M Cussen, P Horgan.

LIMERICK (SH v Cork): T Flynn; D Lynch, D Kenny, S O Neill; L O’Dwyer, A Brennan, M Carr; N Quaid, P Browne; B O Sullivan, A Owens, C Mullane; G Mulcahy, P McNamara, B O Connor.