ALL-IRELAND SENIOR QUARTER-FINAL RESULT: Kilkenny 2-27 Cork 3-18
The margin of defeat was harsh on The Rebels in a compelling contest and it means that Cork will complete a first ever decade without winning an All-Ireland senior hurling title.
Patrick Horgan with 3-10, including an incredible goal from his knees late in the first-half, didn’t deserve to be on the losing team. Horgan also shot a few wides and went for goal twice from frees in the dying minutes which were parried away by a crowded Kilkenny goal-line. It’ll be very sad if Horgan ends his career without an All-Ireland senior hurling title. At 31 years-old he’s running out of time.
Cork had 39 puck-outs on the day and only won 24 of them. That’s a telling stat.
Out of Cork’s score of 3-18, a tally of 3-16 came from the full-forward line, Kilkenny’s scores were spread far wider across the team. In scoring terms, the third quarter proved key with Kilkenny outscoring The Blood and Bandage 1-08 to 0-01 in that period.
Key to Kilkenny’s win was also the cynicism of their backs as there were at least three occasions where Alan Cadogan and Horgan were about to bear down on goal only for them to be dragged to the ground. The GAA need to look at that aspect of the game as a black card (and a free-in) simply isn’t an adequate punishment in such circumstances with the result of a knock-out Championship match on the line.
It’s good news for Limerick that Cork are out of this year’s Championship and the defending All-Ireland champions will definitely start the All-Ireland semi-final against The Cats as firm favorites in two week’s time as Kilkenny have been relatively indifferent for the majority of this season.
Cork meanwhile can take plenty of positives from this year’s Championship – most notably a stunning win away to Limerick – but The Rebels are becoming overly consistent in not seeing out big, knock-out games. Cork aren’t far off but improvements and reinforcements in the Cork back-line will be needed if John Meyler’s men are to lift the Liam McCarthy Cup next year or over the next few years.