'It's either in a fella or it's not' - Cody hails his Kilkenny heroes after 'huge' win while Kiely mourns lost '65
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody has hailed the intensity of his players after a remarkable All-Ireland semi-final over Limerick in Croke Park this evening, stating bluntly that "it's either in a fella or it's not."
"Basic thing is to go out with total honesty first of all. You can talk about all the other things you like. Essentially, they're in the county panel first of all because they're good hurlers and they've plenty of skill and all the rest of it. Then it's the application that they bring and the honesty that they bring and the sense of team," said a delighted Cody.
"Limerick, in the way they won the All-Ireland final last year and they oozed it. I said at the start of the year that we'd huge confidence in the players we had, I know we had injuries, but I continued to say we'd huge confidence in our players, and I still have because they're very, very honest."
Cody acknowledged the prize this evening, was qualification for an All-Ireland final, was "huge.".
"Obviously we knew the opposition was so serious, All-Ireland champions, National League champions. Our first thing was to come up here and be competitive, to give ourselves a chance, obviously we were very, very competitive. To grind it out and keep going. To finish ahead at the final whistle was massively satisfying."
He acknowledged the break may have impacted on Limerick's slow start.
"Possibly, we'll see what John Kiely said about that. I don't know from their point of view. I would say from our point of view, the [Cork] match certainly helped us I'd say, because all year the way things are going, you don't get chances to do that in matches, or training or stuff in between.
"That gave us a two-week gap to get a serious game under our belts, massively competitive game again, up here again, which I certainly don't think did us any harm. We started very well obviously, our first 15 minutes was really really good. And that stood to us in the end, because every point we scored in that period of the game counted at the end."
Limerick manager John Kiely refused to blame the four-week lay off from the Munster final on the defeat.
For the eighth-time now this decade, the Munster champions have fallen short at the penultimate hurdle.
"We have no regrets on anything we did. We gave the lads a week off, we trained hard," said Kiely. "We were ready for tonight, we were absolutely ready. Kilkenny brought a ferocious intensity to the first 15 minutes but we responded to that in kind in the second quarter. We dominated it. We felt very comfortable at half-time that we had the resolve to push on in the second half but we probably struggled a little bit with our efficiency in front of goals. They had eight wides, we had 15. You only need one of those, but that's just sport."
Kiely said they were aware that Darragh O'Donovan's sideline had taken a deflection at the end which should have presented them with another equalising opportunity from a 65.
"We knew straight away. We could see by the flight of the ball, it was taking a certain flight, it changed, it flew off to a different angle. We knew it was after taking a touch, what can we do?
"The crowd on that side of the field. You could see from their reaction, it was obvious that something had happened."
He disputed whether Kilkenny had brought more intensity to the battle.
"I don't think they had a greater level of intensity than us throughout the whole game. I disagree with that. There were phases of the game where we had the ascendancy with regard to the intensity and phases where they had the ascendancy. I just think that they got a greater outcome from their periods where they dominated than where we dominated. We just didn't enough of the dominance, when we had it, on the scoreboard.
Kiely revealed that Declan Hannon has a suspected cracked rib after taking a bang to the chest in the first 15 minutes, forcing him off at the interval.
"He was struggling. We had hoped he would be able to run it off but he wasn't."