Cody satisfied as Cats begin with victory over Rebels
Richie Hogan notched up a personal haul of 11 points as Kilkenny opened their Allianz Hurling League Division 1A campaign with a 1-22 to 2-17 victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
It may be early days but manager Brian Cody afterwards declared himself pleased with how his side had performed against a near full strength Rebel side.
Cody made just one change over the 70 minutes and that was enforced when Conor Fogarty was forced off injured and replaced by Geoff Brennan.
"The reality is that all the players who played have been around the panel for quite a while. We talk about our panel more than we talk about our team," said Cody.
"We don't have a team that's cast in stone - the Kilkenny senior team was playing tonight and that's it.
"There's no such thing as a fella guaranteed to play and the lads played with that kind of realisation, that there's a fierce opportunity there for them. It was a good performance."
The All-Ireland champions were made to work, as their lead was reduced to just two points after Conor Lehane's injury-time goal.
Luke O'Farrell flashed a late shot wide, but the Cats held on, with Mark Kelly and Walter Walsh also impressing in attack.
Kilkenny began the second half in style and appeared to have put down the Rebel challenge.
At half-time, two points had separated the teams, Kilkenny ahead by 1-11 to 0-12 and the exchange of points by Kieran Joyce and Seamus Harnedy suggested that the game would continue to be to-and-fro.
Instead, Kilkenny reeled off five in a row, Hogan and Walter Walsh with two each and Lester Ryan getting the other, as Cork wilted. Even when Patrick Horgan ended their barren spell, Mark Kelly and Hogan pushed Kilkenny 1-19 to 0-14 clear.
However, Cork dug deep and forced their way back into contention.
Two Horgan frees gave them hope and that was increased when O'Farrell, not long on, got his stick to Cormac Murphy's delivery to divert it past Eoin Murphy for Cork's first goal of the night.
The score was 1-19 to 1-16 with seven minutes left on the clock, but Kelly could have killed off the Cork challenge a minute later only to be denied by Anthony Nash's save.
Even so, Pádraig Walsh, Kelly and Hogan helped Brian Cody's charges outscore Cork by 0-3 to 0-1 from there to the end of normal time.
Still, Cork would not relent. Cormac Murphy launched a booming clearance and when his namesake Eoin could not catch it cleanly, Lehane went racing in to send it to the net.
However, Kilkenny held on for the victory.
nhl div 1A: cork v kilkenny