BY NOEL HORGAN
ANTHONY Nash is satisfied that competition for places on the Cork team is extremely healthy at the moment.
Speaking in the wake of last Sunday’s win over Galway, the Cork skipper paid tribute to the input from Paudie O’Sullivan, who was on the bench for the previous two games against Clare and Dublin
The Cloyne man’s two goals were instrumental in paving the way for the Rebels’ triumph up in Salthill, prompting Nash to describe him as ‘a class-act’.
‘Paudie did the business for us, and when you look at what Luke (O’Farrell) did in the last two games, you’d have to say we are spoilt for choice in terms of the full forward position,’ Nash said.
‘But you could go through the whole panel, there’s fierce competition there, and that’s the way we want it,’ remarked the Cork goalkeeper, who kept a clean sheet against Galway and has conceded just two goals in four league outings to date.
He was beaten in the dying seconds last Sunday, but the score was disallowed for a small square infringement, and Nash was in no doubt that the referee made the correct decision.
‘It was unfortunate for the Galway player (Jason Flynn) who was in the square, but, in fairness, the ref called it early, so there was really no controversy there.’
After advancing to the quarter-finals from Division 1B last season, Nash says it a big plus for Cork to have got there again when pitting themselves against the best teams this year.
‘We’re not getting carried away or anything like that, because we know that every team is capable of beating another on a given day, and we didn’t play well ourselves in the first game against Kilkenny,’ Nash said.
‘We took a lot of criticism after that, but we knew what was going on in our set-up, and we are happy to have turned the corner a small bit since then.
‘But it’s still only March, and we’ll have another tough game this Sunday against Tipperary, who are also on a good run of form at the moment. We’ll see how we get on in that, but it would be nice to keep the momentum going before we head into the play-offs.
‘We are hoping to go as far as we can in the league, and, please God, we can carry a bit of form into the championship, which is what we are looking to do,’ he said.
‘I thought we played well enough (against Galway), although it was a completely different game than the one against Dublin the previous weekend.
‘In contrast to Croke Park which is in fantastic condition at this time of year, you could complain about the state of the pitch, so we were prepared for a hard battle, which is exactly what we got.’
At the same time, Nash stressed the pitch was the same for both sides, and that it wasn’t an issue as far as Cork were concerned.
‘As I’ve said, we’re delighted to come out of here with the win, and we are obviously happy with the way the league has gone for us up to now, even if we have lost a huge player in Christopher Joyce,’ Nash said.
‘Christopher is a leader for us in the dressingroom as well, and I just hope the treatment for his injury goes well, and that he’ll be back with us next year.’