LEAVING Croke Park yesterday, we were as low as we've ever been. It's not pleasant leaving the place like that, not sure what lies ahead for the next five hours, next five days, the next week.
Boarding the team coach for home, you don't know when you'll be together again. It was a sad, sad day but I've no regrets. I'm 31 years of age and life's not about regrets. It's for living.
If the pundits are saying I didn't concentrate on hurling yesterday, well, I can only recount my experience of what happened out there. Going on what happened last year and again yesterday, Kilkenny have taken things to a different level. They're not solely interested in hurling either. I couldn't express myself, I wasn't let do that.
The referee was coming down, telling us to step the pulling and dragging, warning us when it was too late. In that corner, Tommy Walsh was on a yellow, I was too, and Jackie Tyrrell. There was no real hurling done.
Those are the facts of it. Twelve months ago, Jackie took me out of the game, fairly or unfairly, depending on your viewpoint. Yesterday, I was detailed to mark Tommy Walsh but Jackie came out again, because his job was to stop me.
Last year, myself and Jackie Tyrrell were sacrificed but this time my job was to follow Tommy Walsh. And when Jackie came out again, that left space for other Tipperary forwards, with one player free at all times.
And in the first half, it was working. The goal came off myself challenging David Herity and we could have been in for another. We were forcing the turnovers and at half-time, we sat down and believed that it was working.
The questions were put to us last year when Jackie marked me -- this time we were asking questions back. But in the second half it didn't work. They got in for goals and it was easy to say our system was wrong.
I was late out for the second half and that was my own fault. I was changing the boots at half-time, caught for 20 seconds, caught with time. But now, after a beating like this, you need people to back you more than ever. We need the public to be with us now, we need support.
We see it coming in on Twitter, Facebook, social media. It's fantastic when it's working with us but we know we didn't do ourselves justice yesterday. We're still proud Tipp people and proud of where we're from though. It will take us a long time to get over this but I want to thank Declan, Tommy, Glossy and the back-room team.
There was no stone left unturned. Everybody's in this together and that's where my heart lies. I'm just another cog in the wheel and my game was all about creating space for others yesterday. I tried my best to do it but Kilkenny's job was to take me out of the game in 2011 and 2012. I don't mind what people say now, if it's on TV or social media. People are entitled to their opinions. That's sport.
I take the good times when they come and I have to deal with the bad times too. There was recognition in 2010 and for part of last year too. But all I want is for Tipperary to do well.
It's not about me -- we travelled to Dublin yesterday as a team and a panel and we have to take the criticism together. At half-time, we seemed to be in a great position, coming from five points down to be a point up.
People might say that my plans were wrong but Tommy and Jackie didn't puck much ball in the first half. The plan was working. People might say that we worried too much about the opposition but I don't buy into that either. If that's the case, look at how the Kilkenny forwards lined out.
Henry Shefflin didn't stay on Paudie Maher. The bottom line is that you have to play to your strengths and we put in place a system that we believed could get us the result yesterday. It worked in the first half but I can't explain what happened after half-time. Just one of those days I guess.