Saturday 20 January 2018

'Workmanlike' Kilkenny better than Tipp, claims proud Allen

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

WHETHER or not they will thank him for his vote of confidence is unclear, but Kilkenny will head into next month's All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary as John Allen's tip to book a Croke Park date in September.

Limerick lost to both Tipperary and Kilkenny this season, leaving Allen well placed to assess the two market leaders of recent seasons.

"I'd think Kilkenny are better than Tipperary at this stage. Tipperary are improving but that was a very workmanlike performance by Kilkenny today. They'll be hard beaten on that form," said Allen.

The Limerick manager had witnessed his side putting up a gallant first-half performance only to lose their way as Kilkenny raised the tempo in the second half.

It was all very disappointing for Limerick, who felt at half-time that they were in with an excellent chance of sentencing Kilkenny to successive championship defeats.

"I said to the lads -- 'do we now believe we can win?' We were well in the game but things changed after half-time. Still, I can't have any complaints about the result. The better team won," said Allen.

Prepared

Brian Cody represented "the better team", pointing out that Kilkenny expected a huge challenge from Limerick.

"Limerick brought everything to it that we thought they would. They put us to the pin of our collars in the first half. They out-hurled us in many areas in the first half and we were lucky to be ahead at half-time. We picked it up in the second half and things worked out well," he said.

The sending off of Richie Hogan was the only real downside for Kilkenny, who must plan without the Danesfort sniper for the semi-final, but Cody walked a diplomatic line on whether he thought the dismissal was warranted.

"I think Richie had the ball and after that I don't know what happened -- except he got a red card. The linesman spoke to the referee. It was a serious decision -- that's for sure," he said.

It was a huge occasion for Kilkenny with the eyes of the hurling world trained on them to see how they would react to the heavy defeat in the Leinster final, but they didn't allow the pressure to disrupt them.

"Teams win and lose matches. We lost (against Galway) but luckily our record over the years has been very, very good but it's not as if we're immune from losing. We knew what to expect from Limerick today because they have shown all season how good they are," said Cody.

Allen said that he was happy that Limerick were going very much in the right direction.

"There are a lot of young fellas on the squad and a few more to come into it. Then it's a matter of knuckling down and putting in all the hard work that goes with it. We're doing that," he said.

Irish Independent

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