Cork hurling by Conor Canavan Sep13


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Cork hurling by Conor Canavan

Not a lot was expected from the Cork senior hurlers this year. An All-Ireland semi-final was a realistic target for most fans. Even before a ball was pucked in this year’s league, this team was being written off by everyone in the county. Very few had expected that we’d be playing in September.

Cork beat Tipp and drew with Waterford in the first two matches, a very good start. It all went downhill from there though and at the end of the league, they would be playing Clare in a relegation play-off in Limerick. Clare won by a couple of points and serious questions were being asked of the team. Is the fitness good enough? Is the team strong enough? Are we good enough to compete? Some people were even saying that Cork were the worst team in the Munster Championship; they’ve answered their critics brilliantly.
They were drawn against Clare in the Munster semi-final. Clare were on a high after beating Waterford and to add to that, Cork were missing captain Pa Cronin and Lorcán McLoughlin. Clare were red hot favourites. Cork put in a massive second-half and they won 0-22 to 0-15. William Egan, Seamus Harnedy and especially Anthony Nash put in massive performances on the day. Limerick awaited in the Munster final. Limerick had beaten favourites Tipp to reach the final. Cork felt really hard done by at the end of the day because star forward Pat Horgan was wrongly given a straight red card just before half-time. Limerick pulled away in the last ten minutes and won 0-24 to 0-15. Because they lost the Munster final, Cork were drawn against the mighty Kilkenny in the All-Ireland quarter final. Kilkenny always raise their game against Cork, so I gave the team a small bit of hope. Everything went right for Cork on the day. Henry Shefflin got sent off in the first half and luckily, every Cork player was on fire. Daniel Kearney and Pat Horgan were superb on the day but really, every player stood out. Anthony Nash made a brilliant double save from a Kilkenny penalty also. Now hopes were up. We were in the semi-final against Leinster champions Dublin. I travelled up to the game with my Dad and to be honest, I didn’t think we could do it. It was level for nearly the whole match but then, Dublin playmaker Ryan O’Dwyer got rightly sent off. Pat Horgan got a clinching goal to win us the match. It was fierce tense. Cork edged out a classic:  1-24 to 1-19. It was the most exciting match I’ve been at or seen in a long time. The two Kanturk men, Lorcán McLoughlin and goalie Anthony Nash, were the stars on the day. Conor Lehane, William Egan and the three full-backs were also excellent.
Now I’ll describe the starting fifteen that got us to the final:
1 Anthony Nash, goalie, is by far the best in his position at the moment. He’s fast, agile and he has mighty puck of the ball. He puts frees from around 100 yards out over the bar regularly.
 2 Stephen McDonnell, corner back, has improved a lot this season. He’s really good at catching and uses his height well.
3 Shane O’Neill, full back, is really good at block downs and reading the game. He could get hurler of the year.
4 Conor O’Sullivan, corner back, is the fastest of the full backs and is good at breaking down attacks. He’ll probably get an All-Star award.
5 Tom Kenny, wing back, uses his experience to help younger players and he has a good hurling brain. He has won two All-Irelands before.
6 Christopher Joyce, centre back, is great at fielding and breaking downfield to set up scores. He wins a lot of breaks around midfield
7 William Egan, wing back, is very consistent and chips in with vital scores. He plays a lot of ball into the corner forwards.
8 Daniel Kearney, midfield, is fast and has great vision. He’s small, but he’ll never shy away from a tackle. He scores vital points.
9 Lorcán McLoughlin, midfield, is very athletic and contributes in defence and attack. He can play in many positions.
10 Seamus Harnedy, wing forward, does a load of dirty work for the team and he chips in with scores. He’s in his first season with Cork.
11 Jamie Coughlan, centre forward, is really skilful, has great pace and a great eye for a killer pass.
12 Pa Cronin, wing forward, is captain and a big target for puck outs. He also does a load of dirty work.
13 Luke Farrell, corner forward, makes loads of great runs down the wing and is a natural goalscorer. He holds up the ball brilliantly and always looks dangerous
14 Pat Horgan, full forward, is probably the most gifted player on the team. He scores a massive amount from frees and from play.
15 Conor Lehane, corner forward, is the fastest on the team and puts in a great effort every game. He usually scores around 0-3 per game. He has great natural skill and ability.
Now it’s down to these 15 players to bring the cup back to Cork. They’ve bounced back brilliantly after the disappointing league season this year. One more 70 minutes of hard work is all we need from this group of players and staff. We’ll all be on the edge our seats, in Croke Park or at home, cheering on this team.