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Anthony Nash won't be following the trend of Cork goalkeepers moving outfield

The Rebels captain isn’t tempted to join Darren McCarthy in the forward line.

Cork's Anthony Nash and Darren McCarthy.
Cork's Anthony Nash and Darren McCarthy.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

CORK GAA GOALKEEPERS have been spotted venturing into uncharted territory recently, but Anthony Nash doesn’t plan to join them.

Darren McCarthy, Nash’s understudy on the Cork hurling panel, lined out in the forward line for their four Waterford Crystal Cup games and made a good impression, scoring 2-2 in the quarter-final win over CIT.

Even Cork football goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran made a 100-yard run out of goal and deep into the opposition half late in Sunday’s Allianz League win against Monaghan in Castleblayney.

Anthony Nash has played outfield in the past for his club Kanturk, but when asked if he’d fancy a similar role with Cork in the future, the newly-appointed Rebels captain insisted he’ll be staying between the posts.

“Oh Jesus, my legs are gone! I find it hard enough to run in goals, let alone outfield,” Nash said at the launch of the 2015 Allianz Hurling League, which begins this coming weekend.

“When I was younger, maybe — but nah, I wouldn’t have been up to it at all when you see the talents the lads have out the field at the moment. I’m lucky enough to be playing in goal so I’ll stick at that for a few years, please God.”

Nash will be Cork’s last line of defence again in 2015 but he’ll lead from the front, having recently been handed the captaincy by manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy. For a player who waited eight years to be promoted from deputy goalkeeper to first choice, it was a big deal.

“It’s a massive honour,” he said. “I suppose my family and my club at the moment more than anything can think about it more than I can. It’s still my job to stop goals and to try and set up attacks as best as I can, so that hasn’t changed too much either.

“To be honest, the job in the dressing room doesn’t matter too much because even though we are a young panel, there is a lot of very seasoned fellas there as well so with that kind of thing, if there is stuff to be done, it’ll be done.

“But when you have management like Jimmy and the lads involved you are not going to have too much to do outside of it and I can just concentrate on playing and that’s the main thing really.”

Anthony Nash Anthony Nash at the launch of the 2015 Allianz Hurling League. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Cork will open their Division 1A campaign this Saturday night when defending All-Ireland and Allianz League champions Kilkenny visit Páirc Uí Rinn (7.00pm).

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The game will be Cork’s first competitive fixture since their comprehensive All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary last August — a game that still evokes painful memories for Nash.

He said: “It wasn’t a nice day. It was a very soul-destroying day and for a few weeks after you were wondering what went wrong, but you couldn’t put your finger on it because so many things went wrong.

“If one thing went wrong, you could work away and say, ‘right this is it’, but there was a lot of things we had to look at and hopefully we will never be in that situation again.”

The Cork players came in for heavy criticism from many quarters after that 10-point loss, but nowhere more so than on Leeside. According to Nash, some former team-mates even had their knives sharpened.

“A few lads that we would have played with came out with comments I was disappointed with, because I would have togged out beside them in the dressing room, and it’s easy to criticise. I hope when I retire that I won’t criticise players that have played.

“Even our own people in Kanturk, you got a few comments, Facebook and Twitter and things like that which isn’t nice to hear, and around the county. The true supporters would never do that, they know we’re always going out to put in 100%.”

Kilkenny will travel south on Saturday without a significant portion of last year’s successful panel, but Nash believes that makes them no less a daunting prospect.

“Having Kilkenny in the first game, there is going to be a lot of talk about retirements and the lads from Ballyhale not being there, but Brian Cody is going to try to find three or four players to replace the guys who retired. And how are they going to be found only by playing and competing in the league?

“They are going to be hungry to come down and stake a claim on the Kilkenny team. So it’s going to be a very hard game, but Cork and Kilkenny in Páirc Uí Rinn on a Saturday night is going to be a fantastic atmosphere and it’s something we look forward to.

“Kilkenny are the team that have set the bar over the last few years. They are a team that everybody likes to pit themselves against. But Cork and Kilkenny, it’s history I suppose, the rivalry is always going to be strong.”

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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