Wednesday 18 September 2019

'You have to be six points better to beat them by one' - Brendan Cummins hails Kilkenny's fighting spirit

Walter Walsh of Kilkenny as his team mates Padraig Walsh and Richie Leahy celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final match between Kilkenny and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Walter Walsh of Kilkenny as his team mates Padraig Walsh and Richie Leahy celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final match between Kilkenny and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Tony Considine

Tipperary great Brendan Cummins has hailed Kilkenny’s resilience as the Black and Amber prepare for tonight’s semi-final shot at All-Ireland champions Limerick.

Cummins is well placed to speak from experience, having been in the Premier goal at the turn of the decade for the classic trilogy of Tipp v Kilkenny finals between 2009 and 2011.

But surprisingly, it was the final where Tipp prevented the five-in-a-row that he used to emphasise the point, as he recalled a six-point lead dropping to the minimum in the five minutes before half-time.

"It’s amazing looking at them. You have to be six points better than them to beat them by one," Cummins explained, speaking at The Throw-In Live, Independent.ie’s GAA podcast in association with Bord Gais Energy, from the Ashdown Hotel in Gorey.

"We used to discuss that with Tipperary before we played them. We'd say, you can be killing these lads but don’t expect to be miles ahead at half-time.

"And that’s what happened in the 2010 final. We said we knew we’d be exactly here, we’re all over these lads, it should be ten points, it’s only one. Just keep the head and keep going. That’s what happened Cork. They were seven or eight points better than them at half time and came in only two points up. That’s the genius of Brian Cody."

Cummins also pointed to the tactical changes Cody is capable of as a potential game-changer, and believes while he may talk down his team's chances, the belief he'll instil into his team means nothing will be left behind.

"Even the last day with his half-back line, that change at half-time putting Fogarty at wing-back, Joey Holden at centre back and Morrissey on the other wing," he explained.

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"That changed the whole game because when his half-back line stayed, the Cork forward line didn’t get as much ball in. He spotted that and tightened that up."

However, despite expecting Kilkenny to pose big problems for Limerick, Cummins expects the All-Ireland champions to prevail narrowly.

"He’ll infuse them with an absolute dogged determination. It’s exactly where he'll want them to be. It’ll be, ‘Limerick are coming in, we’re only coming along to get a hiding but sure, we’ll have a game of hurling and see what happens and shake hands afterwards.’ “Trust me, they’ll give Limerick pucks of it but I still think Limerick will just have too much for them."

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