Cody happy as Cats take 11th title in 17 years

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody understandably cut a happy figure, after his side landed an 11th All-Ireland SHC title in 17 years at Croke Park this afternoon.

The Cats boss was confident, despite his side trailing at the interval, that they would go on to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the 36th time.

“Three points down in hurling is not a big lead or anything like that,” he said.

“It’s fair to say we didn’t hurl like we would have wanted too in the first half, after they hit us in every single way possible.

“They were outstanding in the first half. Their work-rate, they were relentless physically and in every way that they were hurling.

“They would have been disappointed possibly to be just three points head at half-time. It’s not a big lead, and we needed to up the game in every aspect.”

Cody was huge in his praise of his players, for firmly turning the game in Kilkenny’s favour on the restart.

“I thought our response - the players response was magnificent really in the second half. They showed a relentless spirit to drive on, and our hurling was superb as well.

“We pegged back the lead early, and we just drove on really. I thought we were excellent in the second half, there’s no doubt about that.”

Cody knew that no team would dominate the full 70 minutes, and this certainly proved to be the case.

“The game lasts 70 minutes. It’s the score-board that matters in the end. You don’t have to win the first half. You are not going to win the 70 minutes, or 73 or 74 minutes.

“That’s just not possible to do that.

"Too be ahead at the final whistle is the goal really. We were playing an excellent team, and we would have never considered at all, that we were going to dominate this game at all.

“You hang on, and hang on. That’s how you play when you are under pressure and hanging in there is what really defines winning the game.

“We hung in when the going was tough and we drove forward. We got our spell and we fought it out and we got our rewards I suppose really.”

It’s been a tough year for Kilkenny - a host of retirements meant the Cats struggled at the start of the year, but then came into their own, only to be hit hard by injuries.

"We have had a tough year with injuries there’s no doubt about that,” Cody said.

"Jackie Tyrrell fought like a dog to get back for today and he was so close to making it back, but just wasn’t absolutely ready to be playing.

"Shane Prendergast done very well to be playing in his first All-Ireland final and done a great job.

"Richie Power gets a few minutes on the field today, and was working away on his own.

"Richie Hogan barely made the last match, but since then, and we were able to keep it too ourselves, Richie pulled a quad muscle 10 days ago, and it was completely touch and go whether he would play in this game at all or not.

“The injury list kept going - Michael Fennelly’s injury is obviously well chronicled.

"Eoin Larkin cracked his thumb two weeks ago, he took it out of the cast on Wednesday and I thought he was outstanding.

“It’s a tribute to the resolve of the players; the panel and everybody else. It was hard earned.

"I tell you one thing it’s a tribute to our medical team. They played a huge part, but that’s what team is about."

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