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‘I need a holiday!’ – Offaly boss Michael Fennelly reflects on the battle of Tralee

Kilkenny legend full of praise for Kerry hurling after his side’s one-point win over the Kingdom

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Offaly boss Michael Fennelly joked he'd been put through the wringer during his side's Joe McDonagh Cup clash with Kerry in Austin Stack Park on Saturday afternoon Photo by Michael P Ryan / Sportsfile

Offaly boss Michael Fennelly joked he'd been put through the wringer during his side's Joe McDonagh Cup clash with Kerry in Austin Stack Park on Saturday afternoon Photo by Michael P Ryan / Sportsfile

Offaly boss Michael Fennelly joked he'd been put through the wringer during his side's Joe McDonagh Cup clash with Kerry in Austin Stack Park on Saturday afternoon Photo by Michael P Ryan / Sportsfile

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It's not a day or a game any of us who were there are likely to forget any time soon. It was epic. It was, quite frankly, a rollercoaster ride and that’s just from those of us watching on.

What it must have been like for the competitors themselves is surely beyond words, and for the management teams watching on? Let’s just say heart-rate and blood pressure numbers can't have been good.

“I need a holiday!” Offaly boss Michael Fennelly reflected after the game, half in jest, but only half we suspect.

"I don’t think inter-county is for the long-term. I’m not sure how Brian Cody is into his 23rd or 24th year. I think three or four years is enough at this craic. And then I’ll fly to Florida and will retire over there!

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"Without a doubt, it was end-to-end stuff, I am hoarse now, and I’d say I’m after losing about five years of my life there. I would rather nearly be on the field than on the side line, you are living every moment, every second and every minute.

"It was a great win, it went down to the wire, as we expected, I would have said it was 50/50 today, to be honest about it, and that’s the truth.”

The legendary Kilkenny hurler was full of praise for the Kingdom after what was an epic struggle for superiority.

“Kerry are a really good, strong team, and there have many great battles over the years with Offaly,” he said.

"They have really come on in the hurling side of things. You see young [Shane] Conway and the Boyles [Pádraig and Mikey] and these lads, they’re serious hurlers.

"We’re absolutely over the moon with the result, and the performance as well. Some days it goes well for some lads, on other days it doesn’t, other lads stepped in, it was a big team performance today.

“We were efficient, and that’s an area that hasn’t been overly good the last few games. Kerry probably missed two or three easy ones as well, to be fair, whereas I don’t think we missed too many easy ones.

"I’ve no doubt that Kerry could feel that they left this game behind them, because it could have went either way, and that’s the truth of it.”

Fennelly, meanwhile, is fully aware that he and Offaly have work to do to secure their passage to the final, even if their fate is very much in their own hands.

“We have maybe one foot there, that’s all I will genuinely say,” he said.

"We have Carlow next week, and that’s going to be a ding-dong game again. I probably said it at the end of my sentence, but it would be a failure on my part, I think, in terms of us not getting there.

"It’s a very competitive Joe McDonagh, not getting there for Offaly wouldn’t be the end of the world but, for me, I would consider it to be a failure of me as a manager.”


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