Friday 24 November 2017

Colin Fennelly: 'I thought we had it lost at the end'

Michael Verney

Waterford pushed reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny to within an inch of their championship lives in tonight's epic replayed semi-final with two-goal hero Colin Fennelly admitting he thought the game was lost at the end.

Fennelly was majestic at full-forward in their 2-19 to 2-17 win with his two first-half strikes putting the Cats on the front foot after Austin Gleeson's fifth minute goal.

Read more: This Kilkenny fan consoling a devastated Waterford player could well be the sports photo of the year

The Ballyhale maestro caused Barry Coughlan trouble, and was a constant thorn in the Déise's side for 70-plus minutes, but when Pauric Mahony stepped up to an injury-time free, he thought the sides were destined for another draw, and extra-time.

"It was absolutely crazy, I thought we had it lost at the end. Waterford came back and it was a bit like us the last day, they came back at us. That last point from Richie Hogan was just a wonderful feeling so it was," Fennelly said.

"It's a fabulous feeling with the crowd behind you. The team needed it and we needed it. When Waterford got the first goal, we were against a slight breeze there and the chips were down but the boys just kept threading the ball through.

"And thank God I got through for the goals. Fair play to the boys the ball in today was absolutely unbelievable, you don't even need to talk to them, they just do it. It comes straight from the training field."

It was helter-skelter from the throw-in with both sides going hell for leather in another championship thriller and while fatigue set in early just six days since their 1-21 to 0-24 draw, Fennelly and his team-mates powered through it showing their usual steely character.

"It was absolutely crazy, the first ten minutes I thought I was absolutely shattered, I was thinking 'I can't believe I've to play another 50-60 minutes'. It's absolutely crazy. It's a wonderful feeling out there," he said.

"Character is what this team is about and we didn't slack back. We lapsed a bit in some other games and especially the last day, Waterford were all over us and that had to change."

And change it most certainly did as Kilkenny qualified for the All-Ireland decider with their usual grit and set a crack at another three-in-a-row with the winners of tomorrow's second semi-final between Tipperary and Galway awaiting them.

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