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Cody lashes 'criminal' decision to award late free in draw

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Brian Cody celebrates at the final whistle after Kilkenny's All-Ireland final victory over Tipperary. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

Brian Cody celebrates at the final whistle after Kilkenny's All-Ireland final victory over Tipperary. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Brian Cody celebrates at the final whistle after Kilkenny's All-Ireland final victory over Tipperary. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

Brian Cody has launched a stinging attack on referee Barry Kelly over his decision to award a free against Kilkenny at the end of the drawn All-Ireland final.

Kilkenny's centre-back Brian Hogan was adjudged to have charged into his opposite number Padraic Maher in injury time but from the subsequent near 100-metre free John O'Dwyer's effort drifted narrowly wide.

Kelly called in Hawk-Eye to confirm the decision and the sense of drama around that wait added to a momentous occasion.

But Cody, speaking at CityWest Hotel yesterday morning where the Kilkenny team were staying after Saturday's win, has revisited that decision and described it as "criminal".

His remarks are sure to spark controversy but Cody remained adamant. "At the end of the day, they (Tipperary) were handed an opportunity in the wrong, with the last puck of the game the last day, to win the game," said the 10-time All-Ireland-winning manager.

"They were handed an opportunity which was a completely wrong decision. We didn't speak about it the last day but it was criminal.

"People can say that I am whingeing and moaning all they like, but I am telling the truth," he said.

Cody said it was possibly a free to Kilkenny but he wouldn't have minded if Kelly had allowed the play to continue.

"If he had said play on I would have said fair enough. I would say maybe it might be a free for us but I wouldn't have worried about it. If the ball broke and they put it over the bar, I would say fair enough. But you don't hand a team a free puck and say, 'Lads, there you go, win the game'. It was like that."

National referees committee officials declined to comment on Cody's comments last night.

Cody has also taken issue with those who have questioned the spirit of the Kilkenny camp, some of whom he claimed, were even suggesting disharmony "because they wanted to pick the team".

They were, he said, "some of our own geniuses in the newspapers".

"Our spirit was questioned in the last couple of weeks and I'm glad it was. It was rubbish.

"Former greats or so-called greats (so-called greats he repeated to himself under his breath with a smile) and they felt that there might be a bit of disharmony in the camp because they wanted to pick the team.

"We do what we like with the team, because we pick the team, we are in charge. And to question our spirit is rubbish."

Cody admitted he was "amused" by the reaction to last year's All-Ireland hurling final replay between Clare and Cork and the consensus that hurling had taken a different direction.

"I was amused at the time, to be honest. I have seen it before, I have heard it before and people get excited when they see something. It was as if people never scored goals before or as if people never hurled before.

"The participants weren't claiming that but the media came up with all sorts of novel ideas that have been thrown out over the years.

"I have see about four or five new types of hurling since I came into this job. In people's minds," he said.

Impossible

"The fundamentals of the game cannot change, it's impossible to change the fundamentals in a team sport like hurling. If you think it can, you might start winning an All-Ireland some day."

Cody accepted that Kilkenny may not get the credit they deserve for winning a 10th title but that wasn't relevant to him.

"That is understandable, people always like something new. That is neither here nor there.

"If we want to be serious about our sport, our participation in the championship, we just have to plough on and do our job. People who want to speculate on it can speculate on it, have their preferences.

"Some people said this (2013) was the greatest championship of all time, the president of the GAA (Liam O'Neill) said it was the game of the century. Maybe it was," he said after a pause.

Cody didn't try to dampen the reaction to the drawn game and the consensus that it was the best ever All-Ireland final but he did make qualifying remarks.

"It was spectacular but maybe it was lacking in some of the things that are very, very important to have in the team on both sides. But there was brilliant hurling."

Was Saturday's game better, in his opinion?

"It is easy for me to say that now because we won," he said.

"The last game was outstanding but I would say, for either team to concede as much as was conceded, would not be what any team would be hoping to do."

He was surprised that more was made of the chances Tipperary missed than those spurned by his own team.

"Obviously you would love to score as much but the strange thing was that both teams scored the same and it was like as if they (Tipperary) missed more than we had. I didn't think so.

"People will always be drawn to those kind of games where the scores are thick and plenty because it's spectacular and entertaining.

"But there's more to it than that. Saturday was a real definition of the game of hurling from the point of view that there was defending, attacking, creating, closing down, all sorts. I think Saturday's game had everything. Maybe the previous game lacked a certain element of the quality of things that are needed in terms of being complete.

"This time we created a lot more chances than we took and we were very definite winners. There was no doubt about the result.

"That's not easy to do over the year and coming from the situation we were in last year. So it's a really enjoyable and very, very sweet victory."

Cody admitted their absence from Croke Park last year stung and was a reflection of where they were in 2013.

"We didn't tog out in Croke Park last year and it crossed our minds," he admitted.

"We like going up there, and if you don't go up there, it means you're not playing much hurling," he said.

Challenge

"We play in Leinster. You're not doing much if you don't play in Croke Park if you're playing in Leinster. We didn't get there. We got there a few times this year.

"It's certainly the challenge. We threw a challenge at ourselves more than anyone else.

"That's what you've got to do. You can speculate and pontificate and everything else, but we live in the real world, in the arena where you have to take on whatever is out there and we did it well."

Meanwhile, Eoin Larkin has laughed off erroneous reports on social media in the hours after the drawn game that he was due to get married on the day of the replay and that the wedding would be called off.

Larkin is already married and he said he and his wife saw a funny side to it.

"I heard about it in the dressing room the last day. I presume it was a bit of fun," he said.

"My wife was actually laughing about it as well so it wasn't too bad. A few lads were asking me and I was setting them straight fairly quick."

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