Six minutes was all Alan Connolly needed to score two goals and set up another 1 month ago

Six minutes was all Alan Connolly needed to score two goals and set up another

Cork 5-22 Waterford 1-27

If it was space you wanted, you wouldn't have had to look too hard for it in Páirc Uí Chaoimh this Sunday and for Waterford, that was always going to be a dangerous situation.

It's hardly a revelation to say that when it comes to open-season hurling, there are few teams as free-flowing in the shoot-out as Cork, who when given space and time, will take most opposition teams to the cleaners.

An uncharacteristically subdued Waterford played with fire in this National Hurling League pipe-opener and through the pace of Robbie O'Flynn, Darragh Fitzgibbon and the impact, eventually, of super-sub Alan Connolly, the Déise got badly burned.

Important to stress that, with only three weeks of training behind them, reading too much into a game that had a challenge match feel to it wouldn't make much sense but at the same time, Kieran Kingston will take plenty of confidence from a Rebel performance that had Donal O'Grady's genius in every cutting-edge attack and clever-pass.

For them, Tim O'Mahony was at the centre of everything. The Newtownshandrum club-man is something of a new-age centre-back, with those silky touches and laser-like deliveries and though he hurled the world of ball, the feisty operator didn't have it all his own way. In what was the collision of the day, his marker Austin Gleeson was at the races in Cork city, striking five sumptuous points as well as a pair of passes you'd write all the way home about.

That man Fitzgibbon was tremendous in the build-up to Cork's opening goal, finished by Robbie O'Flynn and that score meant Cork always had an edge on their visitors. The Bennetts, Kieran and Stephen, were accurate, sharp and instrumental in a comeback that saw Waterford pile on the pressure until the final ten minutes, when the floodgates opened and Cork reeled off three goals in quick succession.

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All three came from the subs bench with the speedy Shane Kingston darting clear and finishing well before Alan Connolly, a rangy forward who had impressed in his club campaign Blackrock, hit two more as the game descended into a free-for-all.

The first of those was a well-taken rasper from the ground in a passage of play that saw Calum Lyons earn a seemingly harsh red card.

Connolly's second was well-taken in a tight area and there's something about the man's gliding movement, which helped set Kingston free for his goal, which will have Cork followers excited.

He could be one to watch. So could Cork.