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Davy Fitzgerald: I'd put Cork in the first one or two for the All-Ireland title

February 29th, 2024 4:50 PM

By Southern Star Team

Davy Fitzgerald: I'd put Cork in the first one or two for the All-Ireland title Image
Cork's Brian Hayes breaks free from Waterford's PJ Fanning during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A clash at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh. (Photos: George Hatchell)

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Cork 1-21

Waterford 1-19


WHILE there is still quite a bit of room for improvement, Cork manager Pat Ryan felt that Sunday’s Allianz HL Division 1 Group A win over Waterford pointed to better days ahead.

Having lost their opening two matches to Clare and Kilkenny, Cork needed a victory and they got it, but not without a late scare.

When Séamus Harnedy scored a fine point in the 57th minute, the home side held a 1-19 to 1-9 lead but Waterford came back well. The visitors scored nine of the last 11 points but scores from Alan Connolly and Ger Millerick helped to keep Cork in front.

Cork's Cathal McCarthy on the run against Waterford's Kevin Mahony.


After going in leading by a point at half-time, the third quarter showed the best of the Rebels, with Jack O’Connor’s goal capping a period where they outscored Davy Fitzgerald’s side by 1-7 to 0-1.

It is that kind of play which Ryan is looking to replicate as preparations are ramped up for the championship.

‘From our point of view, we'll look at that 20 minutes after half-time,’ he said, ‘and we'll know if we can put that together for 70 minutes, look we'll be a very good team going forward this year.

‘It's trying to impress on the lads that we need to move the ball faster. I think, sometimes, playing against a sweeper can be kind of, can be a bit of a dour game at times, or a bit of a false game sometimes, but I think when we move the ball fast, it made a huge difference to the way we played.

‘When we were slow, it kind of suited Waterford. That's a good learning for us and a good way we want to keep tempo into our game going forward over the next six or seven weeks going into championship.’

Good shooting efficiency ensured that Cork led for much of the first half, with the lead 0-6 to 0-2 at one stage, but a goal from Seán Walsh brough Waterford level at 0-8 to 1-5 on 27 minutes and a free from Jack Prendergast put them in front as half-time approached.

However, a pair of Patrick Horgan frees sent Cork in with an 0-11 to 1-7 advantage and he added one from play on the restart. Jack O’Connor (two), Séamus Harnedy and Brian Hayes were all among the scores as Cork eased clear before a surging O’Connor run ended with the goal to make it a nine-point game.

That was extended to ten, with Waterford suffering from very poor shooting, but their substitutes began to make a difference and, bit by bit, they began to reel Cork in. They ran out of time, however, and the Rebels picked up their first league points.

The sides will clash again in the Munster SHC in Walsh Park on April 21st. And perhaps it’s that April meeting Davy Fitzgerald had in mind when he talked up the opponents.

‘I think Cork are one of the best teams out there,’ he said, ‘I'd be very straight, I think they are. But we made them look exceptionally good with the way we let them run at us for the first 15 minutes.

‘When Cork are in full flow, I think they're an incredible team. My honest opinion is that I'd put Cork in the first one or two for the All-Ireland Championship. I think they're right up there. And that's not playing games. I believe they have that talent.’

Cork are away to Offaly on Sunday week, March 10th.

Talking Point: Cork played in their black and red training kit – not one for the traditionalists. The footballers will wear that gear against Kildare on Sunday, too.



Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-7 (6f), Jack O’Connor 1-3, Brian Hayes 0-3, Séamus Harnedy 0-2, Robert Downey, Eoin Downey, Ciarán Joyce, Ger Millerick, Alan Connolly (1f), Tommy O’Connell 0-1 each.

Waterford: Jack Prendergast 0-5 (4f), Calum Lyons 0-4 (2f), Paddy Leavey 0-3, Seán Walsh 1-0, Conor Sheehan 0-2, Patrick Curran, Tom Barron, Mikey Kiely, Billy Nolan, Jamie Barron 0-1 each.


Cork: B Saunderson; C McCarthy, D Cahalane, S O’Donoghue; G Millerick, C Joyce, M Coleman; E Twomey, T O’Connell; S Barrett, C Lehane, S Harnedy; B Hayes, P Horgan, J O’Connor.

Subs: B Roche for Twomey (8, injured), R Downey for Joyce (10-18, temporary), E Downey for O’Donoghue (29, injured), S Kingston for Lehane (49), A Connolly for Horgan (58), L Meade for Harnedy (69).

Waterford: Shaune O’Brien; PJ Fanning, Mark Fitzgerald, Conor Ryan; Calum Lyons, Tom Barron, Darragh Lyons; Paddy Leavey, Patrick Curran; Pádraig Fitzgerald, Jack Prendergast, Neil Montgomery; Kevin Mahony, Seán Walsh, Billy Nolan.

Subs: Peter Hogan for Walsh (34-35, temporary), Hogan for Fitzgerald, Jamie Barron for Curran (both 46), Mikey Kiely for Mahony (57), Mairtín Power for Darragh Lyons, Conor Sheehan for Montgomery (both 61).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

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