By NIALL SHERRY – SPORTS EDITOR
TJ hits 1-18 as Wexford are put to the sword
When the sun’s out – TJ’s about! The hurling season cranked up a notch last Sunday, when the re-arranged round three clash between old rivals Kilkenny and Wexford took place at UPMC Nowlan Park.
The one change to the starting line-up saw Billy Ryan open the scoring after just SEVEN seconds! Once the same player raised the first of two green flags in the sixth minute, the Cats found their groove and continued to dominate proceedings. Ryan would finish his day’s work with a respectable 1-4 in arguably his best performance in the black and amber.
As the half progressed, it appeared to be wave after wave sweeping up the pitch from back to front, with some clever movement and running creating huge gaps in the Model County’s defence.
With TJ’s game intelligence and roving role in full affect, he spearheaded the very sharp and accurate Noreside attack. When the short whistle sounded, the Ballyhale man had 1-10 to his credit, with plenty of accuracy displayed from frees, constantly coughed up by the Wexford defence. Kilkenny had racked up an Impressive first half tally of 2-18 to the Slaney-siders 0-10 with the aid of the breeze.
Despite Davy’s men outscoring the home side in the second half, the Cats rarely looked troubled. While TJ stole the headlines, there were also some fine scores by Glenmore’s finest, Alan Murphy.
All in all, a good day at the office for Cody’s charges, in what could have been a rehearsal for a Leinster semi-final later in the summer.
Looking for Laois
Round four of the Allianz Hurling Legue see’s ‘Cheddar’ bring the only other side with a 100% record in Division 1 Group B to UPMC Nowlan Park this Sunday (June 6th, Throw-In 1:45pm). Unfortunately for Laois it is three matches and three defeats that makes up their record.
Brian Cody will not allow his troops to drop their standards as the O’Moore County roll into town. I would expect some changes to be rung, TJ might be given the afternoon off and some other players rotated, as the manager utilises his squad depth and perhaps see the possibility of a little experimentation.
Captain and young Ballyhale star, Adrian Mullen could benefit from more game time and no doubt his manager would like to see him trouble the scoreboard against the bottom placed side. his fellow club-man Eoin Cody could also see more minutes on Sunday.
Darragh Corcoran played a pivotal role in stifling the Wexford attack last weekend, and will relish the prospect of shutting out the Laois attacking threat.
Glenmore’s Alan Murphy will also be hoping to avoid being rested, having hit three fine scores in the last match at Nowlan Park.
Alan’s fellow Murphy, goalkeeper and clubmate Eoin, fresh from a goal assist against woeful Wexford may have a watching brief as the manager may opt to give St Lachtain’s net minder Darren Brennan some much needed game time.
Cats to cruise to win number 4
There is no doubt that whatever XV take to the pitch on Sunday, Kilkenny should be confident of posting a sizeable score against a Laois side that appears devoid of ideas, that is missing key players and somewhat unforgivably, seems to be lacking the fitness required to operate at senior inter-county level.
With Covid still making its mark on counties throughout the island, the Cats will be keen to get another victory under their belt without too many side-stories.
Last weeks ‘Davy demolition’ is another marker laid down in Cody’s quest to provide a side capable of mounting a serious challenge to Limerick’s seemingly invincible aura.
All league wins should come with a warning – ‘This is not a Liam McCarthy guarantee’. However, each win builds hope in not only players, but in supporters. The road to Croker is fraught with danger, but it is better to be on that road & believing that the destination is possible. The journey continues.