Stating his ambition is to win enough games to ensure their survival in the group, Offaly manager Joe Dooley still took a lot of positives out of the defeat. “It’s not too easy to come down and beat Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, it’s a kind of a fortress,’’ he commented.
“The save was probably a turning point. If that had gone in I think it would have gone down to the wire. We are short a good few players at present and our strength in depth is probably not near as good as Cork’s. But, overall, for commitment, effort and belief you couldn’t fault the lads.’’
While suggesting a few players mightn’t have been pleased with their form, Cork boss Denis Walsh was more than satisfied with the outcome, recognising the importance of a good performance in advance of their visit to Nowlan Park. “It’s crucial to start well,’’ he said. “You need to win two or three games, be comfortable and then get into your stride. We have Kilkenny next Sunday and they won last night. They had Tipp and Cork in the first two games, so they knew they had to hit the ground running as well.’’
CORK always looked too strong as they opened their league campaign with victory at home to a dogged Offaly side at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday.
Featuring a mix of household names as well as newer additions to the panel, Denis Walsh’s side possessed more of an all-round attacking threat than their midlands visitors, who relied heavily on Brian Carroll and Shane Dooley and did not offer a huge threat in the second half.
Had Dooley been successful with a goal chance when Cork led by 1-14 to 1-12 in the 50th minute, then perhaps Offaly might have returned home successful, but instead his shot was saved by Anthony Nash and Cork finished strongly.
STRANGE as it may seem, we suspect that Offaly are secretly delighted to be facing three arduous journeys to Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny this spring — chances are they might struggle against this heavyweight trio, even at home, so better to take your chances when hosting the likes of Dublin and Wexford.
More immediately, it doesn’t augur well that Joe Dooley’s injury-depleted outfit were only drawing with Carlow when the Walsh Shield final was abandoned in extra-time last weekend.
They will hope (perhaps against hope) that Denis Walsh’s blend of old hands and Rebel wannabes take time to gel.
Corner-back Stephen McDonnell and centre-back Mark Ellis are new names in the Cork defence, while just seven of the team that capitulated to Kilkenny in the first half of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final start tomorrow in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Mind you, among the call-ups is ‘old guard’ veteran Jerry O’Connor at midfield while his twin, Ben, is back for another campaign in the corner. With Tom Kenny and Cathal Naughton relocated to the flanks, and Paudie O’Sullivan and Pat Horgan joining Ben inside, the home side are likely to pack too heavy a punch for the visitors.
Cork finished strongly to seal a deserved five-point win over Offaly in their Allianz NHL Division 1 opener at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
The Rebels scored four of the last six points to edge home during a second half in which their greater physicality and defensive strength were key components.
The teams were tied on four occasions during this contest, with no more than three points between them in the opening 60 minutes.
Tom Kenny blasted to the Offaly net in the opening minute, but newly-appointed captain Shane Dooley and goal scorer Colin Egan got Offaly firing.
The Faithfuls were only 1-12 to 1-11 behind at half-time. However, they could only add four more points in the second period as scores from Pat Horgan, Jerry and Ben O’Connor and Pa Cronin steered Cork clear.
In front of a 1,405-strong crowd, Cork put the Offaly defence under huge pressure in the opening stages, with half-forward Tom Kenny helping to set the early pace.
The Rebels claimed a 1-20 to 1-15 success over the Leinster men as their greater strength told towards the death, Denis Walsh’s troops showing a comfort and a confidence that saw then home to victory in this season-opener.
Cork were made to fight hard before eventually overcoming Offaly in their NHL opener at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
Denis Walsh’s side scored four of the last six points and the stronger finish proved crucial as they just edged out a determined Offaly fifteen.
Tom Kenny scored a goal fro the rebels in the opening minute, but Shane Dooley and goal scorer Colin Egan got Offaly firing.
Cork led by the minimum 1-12 to 1-11 at half-time, but scores from Pat Horgan, Jerry and Ben O’Connor and Pa Cronin late on were sufficient to claim the points for the home side.