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‘I’m sure it was an issue with them that we did not want to lose an All-Ireland semi-final for the third year in a row’ – Brian Cody

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Kilkenny manager Brian Cody shakes hands with Tommy Walsh

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody shakes hands with Tommy Walsh

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody shakes hands with Tommy Walsh

As demolition jobs go, this was as clinical as it gets from Kilkenny.

While scoring 1-17 in the first half, they hit a solitary wide.

It brought to mind Kilkenny’s first-half dismantling of Waterford in the 2008 All-Ireland final, when they also had just a single miss in 35 minutes. The difference was that back then manager Brian Cody could call on some of the greatest hurlers ever.

In this Al-Ireland semi-final he had a willing bunch of disciples, who were not in the league of skills of those of 14 years ago, but who brought the same manic hunger and desire of old to their task.

But a more recent matter was behind Kilkenny’s big show according to Cody.

“I never spoke to the lads about it myself, but I’m sure it was an issue with them that we did not want to lose an All-Ireland semi-final for the third year in a row,” said the Top Cat.

“It’s not a nice place to be, losing a semi-final, but we’ve won it now and we’ll deal with the quick turnaround to the All-Ireland final on July 17.

“You’d crawl on your hands and knees to get to an All-Ireland final.

“Look ,we’ve a day’s more recovery than whoever wins between Limerick and Galway.”

Cody could not put his finger on any one reason for the cracking show from Kilkenny, after recent performances where they lost twice in the Leinster round-robins and they were not exactly fluent in the Leinster final against Galway.

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“I don’t know for sure, but one thing was that we’ve been playing matches week upon week now for a long time and we hardly had time for a decent training session.

“But since the Leinster final, we’ve had four weeks and we used it well in training,” admitted Cody.

“Lads put their hands up for a place and respected the efforts of other lads who were putting up their hands for a place and I think you saw the result against Clare.

“I’ve never worried about a settled side, for me it is all about a settled squad and a settled spirit. When you have those things you have a chance.”

Certainly Cody has made changes in almost every match this summer “and I might make a few more for the final too,” he added.

He was given ammunition for changes in Kilkenny’s second half performance here.

“I thought we slipped a bit there, but there was an element of waiting for the final whistle in it, lads just wanted to get the game over by then.”

Nobody came from Clare to speak to the media after the match.

“Gutted” might have been the word they would have used after losing by 12 points on a night when they failed to take advantage of 30 scoring chances.

The Banner shot 24 wides, dropped three attempts for points short and saw three attempts for goals saved by Kilkenny netminder Eoin Murphy.

Yes, you might not feel like talking either if you had to face up to stats like those.

After such a fine season, it had to be utterly dispiriting for Clare hurlers to produce an effort like that on the day it mattered most.

Here, after a stuttering Championship season to date, Cody’s Cats showed their claws and Clare were left scratched, cut, bewildered and quiet.

Kilkenny have done it to other teams before them and will do it to others some day in the future.

The Black and Amber will hope for more of the same against Limerick or Galway.

Would you bet against them delivering it?


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