'We'll be back' vows Cody
Cats boss adamant it's not end of line after Shefflin sees red in quarter-final exit
KILKENNY'S earliest departure from the All-Ireland hurling championship for 17 years may have raised doubts over what lies ahead for the most potent force the game has ever known, but manager Brian Cody believes there's still a lot to come from the squad.
"There are several more seasons in them. The team obviously evolves and changes from year to year but there are many players in our dressing-room who have huge careers ahead of them," said Cody after yesterday's defeat by Cork in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Most focus will be on Henry Shefflin, who was sent off on a second yellow card by Westmeath referee Barry Kelly just before half-time, a decision which left Kilkenny under a crippling handicap in the second half.
"I have no idea why Henry Shefflin got two yellow cards," said Cody. Shefflin (34) started for the first time this year after battling back from a troublesome ankle injury and it now remains to be seen if he commits himself for a 16th season in 2014.
He was sent off at almost precisely the same time as Patrick Horgan was dismissed against Limerick in the Munster final but it all came right for the reinstated Cork captain yesterday as he scored 0-11 in a man-of-the-match performance. "I am just delighted that I was allowed play today, and after that I didn't even want to think about what had happened," said Horgan.
Cork's win earned them a semi-final clash with Dublin on Sunday week, while Limerick will play Clare in the second semi-final a week later.
Clare beat Galway by six points in the second quarter-final, leaving Cork as the only one of last year's semi-finalists to reach the last four this season.
It means that irrespective of the eventual winners, the All-Ireland will be heading for some county after a lengthy absence. Cork last won in 2005, Clare in 1997, Limerick in 1973 and Dublin in 1938.
Meanwhile, the football semi-final line-up will be as follows: Donegal/Mayo v Tyrone/Monaghan (August 25); Dublin/Cork v Kerry/Cavan (September 1). The quarter-finals will be played in Croke Park next Saturday and Sunday as follows: Saturday: Tyrone v Monaghan (5.0); Dublin v Cork (7.0). Sunday: Cavan v Kerry (2.0); Donegal v Mayo (4.0).