Blues have bit between teeth for second shot
IT was all so different to a year earlier in the vicinity of the Dublin dressing-room.
Last June, Anthony Daly was at a complete loss to explain why his side had malfunctioned so dismally when confronted with Kilkenny's power play, but there was a decided jaunt in their step as they left O'Moore Park after claiming Dublin's best championship result against Kilkenny since 1942.
They will be back in Portlaoise next Saturday, doubly determined to complete the task of downing the All-Ireland champions and Daly is confident his troops can run the Cats extremely close once again.
"I think we're in with a great chance. We're right there. We proved a good bit to ourselves today. People were seriously doubting us," said Daly.
Despite producing a performance – and a result – which few thought likely, Dublin were far from happy with the draw, believing that they should have won.
"We'd be disappointed with the way we hurled in the first half. We coughed up a lot of handy possession," added Daly.
"We were a bit silly with missed chances. We still felt at half-time that we had a right good chance. We are extremely fit and we felt we could hang on in there."
He felt all along that his side were ready to produce a really big performance, which they did in emphatic fashion against the wind in the second half, coming agonisingly close to pulling off the win of the summer.
"You'd have fellas telling you that the wind is worth six or seven points but the wind never wins anything for you.
"You have to play too. We felt at half-time that if we gave it everything in the second half, we had a real chance. That's what the lads did.
"Unfortunately, we coughed up the equaliser but, look, when we were level with a minute or two to go, we'd probably have taken a draw.
"I'm just delighted for the boys that they are getting a second chance."
Brian Cody admitted there was a huge sense of relief in the Kilkenny dressing-room after coming so close to losing a Leinster championship game for a second successive year, something that hasn't happened in his term as manager.
He said there was no obvious reason why Kilkenny, backed by the strong wind, struggled in the second half, and heaped praise on the Dubs' performance – revealing that Kilkenny had expected a serious test of their credentials.
"I have no definite answer to that question now. We'll have to sit down and look at things. I wasn't a bit surprised that Dublin played so well.
"I've been saying for a long time that they are a top side and they showed that today.
"We're just glad to have another chance. We know what's facing us in the replay – that's for sure."