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Ruby blows the Cork support opposition aside with opening up a Hurricane start GAA stadiums Ruby Walsh celebrates on board Hurricane Fly after winning the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy race during Champion Day at Cheltenham Racecourse yesterday, on an opening day that saw him take three impressive wins. Picture: Getty Images

IN SPORT TODAY Soccer: All the news from the local leagues: P40-47 GAA: Cleary wary of taking Kerry for granted: P53 See all of today’s racecards: P34-38

Battling draw will stand to Rebels later

PAUDIE O’SULLIVAN believes that Cork’s battling draw with Waterford in atrocious conditions at the Fraher Field last Sunday will benefit the team considerably over the coming months. Cork trailed the home team by eight points at the interval, but they responded magnificently to secure what might turn out to be a very significant point in the chase for a place in the knockout stages of the league. “I think the way that we came back in the second-half after being 0-10 to 0-2 behind at half-time showed that there is a lot of character in the squad,” O’Sullivan told the Evening Echo. “The conditions were the worst that I have ever experienced in the league, and we really had to dig in and grind out something. Maybe that was something we had been accused of not doing in the past, digging in when our backs are against

O’Sullivan sees real character in Cork’s performance against the Déise HURLING By JOHN HORGAN

the wall, fighting to get something and we had to do that last Sunday. “We could have got the win when we went two points up but coming from where we were at half-time, we were happy with the point, especially after Anthony Nash had made two brilliant saves at the end.’’ Now if Cork find themselves in a similar situation going forward, the ace Cork attacker believes that they can draw inspiration from last Sunday. “Definitely, it will have given the players belief that we are capable of turning things around in a game if we find

ourselves a good bit down at a particular time. “We’ll be able to say to ourselves that we turned things around before and the way hurling is now it can change in an instant. When Stephen Moylan got that goal in Dungarvan you could feel a wave of momentum coming behind us. And we certainly won’t be panicking if we do find ourselves five or six points

down later on in the year.” O’Sullivan believes too that the introduction of so many new faces to the squad is just what the more experienced members required. “The lads who are there a bit longer know they have to perform every night in training. Those new fellas are champing at the bit, they want our jerseys, they want to be in the starting 15 so that certainly lifts your own game.” ● See more GAA on P52-53.

Cork’s Paudie O’Sullivan thinks the draw against the Déise will stand to the Rebels later.

DELEGATES at the last night’s Cork County Board meeting have voted to allow GAA stadiums be used for the Rugby World Cup, if the GAA’s central council gives it their approval. Motions for the upcoming annual GAA congress in Derry on Friday and Saturday week were on the agenda, and most notably delegates backed motion three, allowing central council the power to authorise the use of Croke Park and other stadia for any Rugby World Cup bid in 2023 or 2027. Given Cork’s opposition to opening up Croke Park to other codes when Aviva Stadium was being built, their support for this motion would suggest there will be national GAA backing for the Rugby World Cup. The proposed rule changes were voted on as well, with the new black card rule on discipline rejected, as well as extending all adult football games to 35 minutes a half, and the


mark. There was support though for the clean pick-up of the ball from the ground in football, and the use of a public clock ala ladies football. Delegates also endorsed motion 53, to bring the All-Ireland finals forward by two weeks to free up more time for the club game. This was brought forward to last December’s convention by former Cork and Nemo stalwart Derek Kavanagh. Pat Joe Connolly (Bantry Blues) and Christy Ring (Glen Rovers) were elected as delegates to congress, which takes place in Derry. The first round fixtures for the county championships were also finalised, most notably the Ballincollig-Douglas (8pm) and St Nick’s-Barrs (6.30pm) SFC double-header at Páirc Uí Rinn was pushed back a day to Saturday, May 4. ● See more GAA on P52-53.

O’Connell ready for Heineken Cup THERE was a good news injury story in Irish rugby for a change after Paul O’Connell came through his first 40 minutes of action since October as Munster A overcame Leinster A 24-17 at the UL Bowl yesterday, ZULWHV 6(¤1 0F&$57+<. The second row underwent surgery on New Year’s Eve to correct a back injury and wasn’t expected back until April. Not for the first time in his


career, O’Connell has shown great healing ability and returned for yesterday’s clash four weeks ahead of schedule. “I’m injury free and the Heineken Cup is definitely on for me,” he said. Munster’s tries came from Ronan O’Mahony and Danny Barnes, with JJ Hanrahan adding three penalties. ● More rugby P49-51.