Brian Cody hails spirit of Kilkenny hurlers
Brian Cody took pride tonight in how his Kilkenny men showed that they have the mettle to match Tipperary in a remarkable contest in Thurles, writes John Fogarty.
Kilkenny had been dismissed by some but they almost pulled off a victory, which would have ended their neighbours’ 11-month unbeaten run.
“I learned that what I always feel we’re capable of they’re still capable of. I think they showed the spirit tonight that we always need to show. I would imagine several questions were being asked of the players.
“Tonight was just one game. Just because the response is good tonight, the thing is only starting. It’s only March. But I think it was still an important challenge we faced tonight and we faced it well.”
Michael Ryan wasn’t one of those who had been tempted to dismiss Kilkenny.
“I think ye (media) boys will be in business for years! It just gives and gives. Ye might write it but ye didn’t believe it – those guys are not written off or anything like it. They’ve been at this point over the last 15 years on how many occasions?
“It takes a really good team to come out there, two really good teams, to serve up that game. And we got away on them – we were well away there in the first half but in typical Kilkenny style, they came roaring back into the game. They’re just a quality side – we know that, there’s no secret about that.”
Neither Ryan nor Cody complained about the result. Ryan said: “I think it’s a very fair reflection of the game. We’ve often lost those tight ones! It would have been awful hard for either team to go home without something from the match. It gave and gave. Those are the games that give you a really good measure of where you’re at this point.
“Remember, it’s only March 11 – great data for both sides on their squads, we go ahead again, matchday 4, another one coming in two weeks. It’s a great League, we give out about it at times but it’s a great League. Conditions would have helped a lot of the quality of the hurling out there tonight.”
Cody lauded the performance of Cillian Buckley, who was sensational for the visitors.
“He was very, very good. There’s no doubt about that. He worked up and down the field all night, I felt. He got onto ball, he won ball, he scored. He just did great work. He has that ability. Cillian’s a terrific athlete as well so he took on great responsibility.”
Like Ryan, Cody appeared to question the value of hurling under lights. “Maybe for supporters (it is good) but I’d say players would prefer for it not to be played under lights because it’s not something they do.”