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Desire to feature in Páirc Uí Chaoimh opener saw Nash combine club and county duties on Saturday

The goalkeeper insists he was not forced into being available for Kanturk and Cork

Cork and Kanturk goalkeeper Anthony Nash at today's AIB All-Ireland club finals media day.
Cork and Kanturk goalkeeper Anthony Nash at today's AIB All-Ireland club finals media day.
Image: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

THE DASH FROM Newbridge to Cork on Saturday afternoon was Anthony Nash’s own decision as the All-Star winning goalkeeper was keen to be involved with both his club Kanturk in their All-Ireland intermediate semi-final and the Cork senior hurlers in their opening Division 1A league tie.

With Kanturk’s game against Armagh champions Middletown starting at 2pm in St Conleth’s Park – after being postponed the previous Sunday due to an unplayable pitch – Nash was driven straight to Cork after the final whistle when Kanturk had emerged victorious by 3-13 to 0-12.

The 33-year-old was a substitute goalkeeper then in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the match between Cork and Kilkenny on Saturday night that started at 7pm.

Patrick Collins started between the posts for Cork after Nash had been originally named in the team announced last Thursday night but the regular Rebel netminder was keen to be involved in Cork’s opening game at the redeveloped stadium and rubbished suggestions that he had been forced by the Cork management to line out.

“A lot was written and spoken about it (but) I put myself forward to be selected. That was as simple as that. I think at my age now and (with) the experience I have, I think if I felt I wasn’t going to be okay or anything like that, I wouldn’t have said it to the management. John (Meyler) would never nor would any other manager ever force me to do anything (like) that.

“The way it was working out if the (Kanturk) game had gone on the first day, I would have been able to play against Kilkenny. Look it’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh under lights, (against) Kilkenny, home game, double-header, the crowd was there, lovely night for hurling, of course you want to be involved. If you’re playing hurling, you love playing the game.

“If there was any stick to be laid on, it was to be laid on to me because I was the one who wanted to play in it. It was John and the management who said to be fair to me and to Kanturk to go and concentrate on them. I suppose (it was) a bit of common sense from the management and they had a chat with me about it. But it was nothing to do with me being forced to come down.

John Meyler and Brian Cody John Meyler and Brian Cody after Saturday night's match. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Eamonn Tarrant and my father drove me down. Listen in fairness Kanturk have been very accommodating to me. I’ve tried to keep in touch as much as I can with Cork as well.

“Obviously being able to train with Brian Hurley the goalkeeping coach inside is great for me personally and the club understand that. They know they’ll get the best out of me. Ever since I’ve been involved with Cork they’ve been very good that way.

“As soon as the final whistle went I had everything organised, I wouldn’t have to think about anything else. I was actually down in Cork at five o’clock so we’d loads of time to spare and it was just nice to be involved with the panel on a great occasion on Saturday night as well.”

Cork began Meyler’s era in charge on a successful note and Nash was encouraged to see new young players like Sean O’Donoghue, Tim O’Mahony, Robbie O’Flynn and Jack O’Connor stake their claims for future inclusion.

Ollie Walsh and Tim O'Mahony Cork's Tim O'Mahony in action against Kilkenny's James Maher on Saturday night. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“A lot of them were there last year. Jack (O’Connor) I know came in this year. Most of the lads were there last year and would have experience to see what the likes of Mark (Coleman) and Darragh (Fitzgibbon) did on the field, Luke (Meade), Shane Kingston.

“So it just shows the attitude they have is to improve. But look what happened last year we didn’t win the All-Ireland. So obviously as a team to even get to anywhere near the level, every other team is going to improve again so we have to.

“But to see young fellas coming through is fantastic. The attitude is great and there’s a buzz around the place. They’re lovely young fellas. I’m the eldest fella within the panel. I roomed with Jack O’Connor there a few weeks back, (a) lovely fella.

“In the league it’s competitive games, you’re going in with the best that’s there. That’s the only way you’re going to find out.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Fintan O'Toole

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