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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Anthony Nash strikes the ball so well it’s ridiculous – Pa Kelly

The Banner County goalkeeper believes his team is capable of producing the extra 10% needed to clinch the Liam MacCarthy.

Clare goalkeeper Pa Kelly saved an Anthony Nash penalty three weeks ago.
Clare goalkeeper Pa Kelly saved an Anthony Nash penalty three weeks ago.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

ANTHONY NASH BEAT a regular track from one goal to the next as Cork battled back to very nearly clinch a comeback win over Clare.

The Rebels goalkeeper was very much in focus as he saw a 21-yard free saved, scored a goal from his next attempt and then missed a penalty. Nash spoke with eloquence at the end of the drawn final and his picture appeared in every match report hurling fans could get their hands on.

The goalkeeper that saved the Nash penalty sidled off the Croke Park pitch and has been happy to stay out of the spotlight since as Clare prepare, once again, to end an 16-year wait for All-Ireland glory.

Pa Kelly is gearing up for his second All-Ireland tilt in three weeks but insists the night vision goggles are not in the kitbag for the 5pm throw-in at Croke Park. “I don’t think it is too bad it is the same for both goalkeepers. I think a lot of that is in your head. As long as you are out on the field, and get 10 or 15 minutes to adjust to them, you are OK — the same as the outfield players. There is no issue there.”

Nash did have an issue with referee Brian Gavin as he complained about Kelly shooting off his line to block down his first free attempt. Kelly insists that, once again, he will spring from his line if Nash gets another go today and tosses the sliotar high into the night sky.

imageKelly blocks Nash’s first free after racing eight yards from his line. INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Kelly and Nash were in Munster’s Railway Cup squad together. The 26-year-old, who often takes frees for his club side Inagh-Kilnamona, is impressed with Nash’s technique.

He said, “Nash’s strike is more powerful than Joe Canning… I’d say he practices them a lot he strikes the ball so well it is ridiculous.

I was with him on the Munster squad and he was taking them before training on me and nine times out of 10 he was absolutely smashing the ball. He doesn’t mishit the ball so he probably has a better shot than Joe and that’s a fair achievement because we all know the ability of Joe striking a ball.”

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Aside from his duel with Nash, Kelly described his performance as ‘OK’. He conceded three goals in the draw and was caught out twice by strikes that went high and across his body. “I wasn’t happy with the first one,” he conceded. “It was very soft. To rub salt into the wounds, Nash came up and buried a 21 yard free that didn’t help.”

The burst of second half goals gave Cork some traction and it looked as though they had snatched a remarkable victory as, going into injury time, they took the lead for the first time in the match. Corner back Domhnall O’Donovan arced over a late point to level affairs.

“Domhnall wasn’t going to sit back there  rest on laurels; he went up went for broke it worked out.  If he thought negative or thought about losing we wouldn’t be here,” Kelly commented.

Having played at Croke Park in a senior match for the first time just over a month ago [the semi-final win over Limerick], Kelly is feeling at home in GAA headquarters. He said, “You dream as a young fella of playing these games in front of 80,000 people and have a chance of doing that twice within three weeks so there is no point being nervous or caught up in it.”

The key to getting over the line this weekend, declares Kelly, is Clare’s winning mentality that has been bolstered by the All-Ireland success of the U21 players. “Success breeds success you can’t beat winning the winning mentality and these lads have it.

“We still haven’t won anything at senior but hopefully we put that to bed Saturday and what we aim to do.”

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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