Richie Hogan: Embarrassing defeat to Galway in 2012 Leinster final was shock therapy we needed
WE'LL never know how Galway might have fared had Dublin won the toss in Tullamore or had Laois done the same two weeks later.
You couldn't, however, have imagined another team using that direct gale any more effectively on two consecutive occasions.
"They are blitzing teams," notes Richie Hogan, himself a compelling protagonist in a blitz two weeks back in Kilkenny's rout of Wexford.
"The wind in the last two games didn't favour the game a whole lot but it is the way they are," Hogan, the current Hurler of the Year reckons.
"If they get on a run they are impossible to stop, that's the challenge to make sure they don't get on a run.
"The forwards they have, the new lads like Jason (Flynn), Cathal (Mannion) who are adding to it now and they have the usual lads like Joe (Canning).
"So they are a serious handful in terms of their individual skill and talent."
Indeed, last time Galway played Kilkenny in a Leinster final in 2012, Hogan's team were buried alive.
"We were totally blown away . . . Galway just came with, and they do it every couple of years, an attitude that they would beat all the teams in the country put together on a certain day.
"They just destroyed us," recalls the Danesfort man.
"I can't remember the attitude going up at the time.
"I can't remember if we were focused or weren't focused but we were that little bit off.
"And it is always said in our dressing room that if you are a little bit off you will be wiped out of it.
"And we got a team that was so hungry and probably a little bit pissed off at being written off because they were written off in that game and they had a reaction.
"It was an experimental enough Galway team too, Iarla Tannian was midfield but he's normally corner forward and he went out and was man of the match," Hogan remembers. "It was embarrassing to be honest with you. At half-time it was completely embarrassing."
Yet Kilkenny reacted as only Kilkenny can.
They got back into a final and back into Galway's company and having diced with losing to a team twice in the one year in two major deciders, they did the needy for a second All-Ireland on the spin.
According to Hogan, the Leinster final was the catalyst for the All-Ireland.
"In the dressing room and training, we knew if we lost the next won we were gone," he says now.
"We turned around and won the All-Ireland that year but I think that really helped.
"Because if we hadn't been hammered by Galway in the Leinster final we might have let things linger on to the semi-final and when you are beaten then you are completely gone.
"We were very lucky we were beaten in a Leinster final," he concludes.