Brian Cody was at home in front of the television but Kilkenny carried on regardless as the Cats eased past Galway in the National Hurling League semifinal on Sunday.
Cody missed a big game for the first time in his stint as Cats boss after a recent operation for a heart problem, but his side managed just fine without him.
Star forward Henry Shefflin, still a doubt for the Championship, was also marked on the absent list as Kilkenny wrapped up a 1-24 to 1-17 win over the Leinster champions.
Selectors Michael Dempsey and Martin Fogarty took charge in Cody’s absence as Kilkenny carried on winning. Dempsey admitted it was strange not to have Cody on the sideline.
He said, “It wasn’t the same at all. It his probably killing him not to be here today, but he is getting on very well.
“Brian has being around for too long not to have an influence still, so really it is much the same and we are all conscious of his absence.”
Kilkenny will now meet Tipp in the league final after a clinical display against Galway in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland decider.
Dempsey added, “Obviously we are happy with the result. Galway put it up to us early on and scored a goal and had us a bit rattled early on.
“We were slightly nervous and Galway got into the ascendancy, but we fought back well and got off to the second half strongly. We missed a few goal chances, but when we got the goal it made it easier for us after that.”
Galway’s rhythm was upset by a clash of heads between Fergal Moore and Kilkenny youngster Walter Walsh. Moore suffered a concussion and was still under observation in Clonmel hospital on Tuesday.
Galway selector Tom Helebert admitted, “It was a disappointing finish. We were targeting to make it a hot contest. We had a very good start and we certainly turned up with the right frame of mind and the right start, but we didn’t sustain it.”
Nowlan Park in Kilkenny will host the Allianz League final on Sunday, May 5 when the Cats will play their fierce rivals Tipperary thanks to a home and away agreement between the counties.
The All-Ireland champions travelled to Thurles when the sides last met at this stage of the competition but this will be the first league decider at Nowlan Park.
Tipp Overwhelms Dubs in Semi
TIPP players surprised even their manager Eamon O’Shea with their superiority all down the field in a big NHL semifinal win over Dublin in Thurles on Sunday.
Tipp will now meet Kilkenny in the league final after a 4-20 to 0-17 victory.
O’Shea admitted, “I was expecting it to be a really tight game to be honest. Dublin didn’t probably show their true colors today. We got a bit of a run on them which meant that they were under pressure and we kept on the pressure for a lot of the game.”
After blooding several players over the course of the league, O’Shea is excited by the summer ahead.
“In fairness everybody is pushing hard for their places and they are a model outfit to work with. The players are really dedicated and I have nothing but praise for them,” he said.
Tipp forward Shane Bourke felt three first-half goals proved vital for his side.
He told RTE, “It’s always important to get a good start. We knew Dublin were going to come hard at us early on so we just needed to be up for it.”
Dublin were well and truly beaten from start to finish by Tipp, and Blues boss Anthony Daly was far from happy with the 15 point defeat.
He said, “I’m very disappointed now. We stood off in the first half and if you stand off those lads you will be punished. We would have done a heavy couple of weeks training, but it’s hard to put your finger on that to be honest.”
Dubs Not Worried Over Suspension
DUBLIN are confident that the suspension threatened against one of their players for biting Donegal’s Paddy McBrearty in a recent NFL game will be lifted.
The GAA is to hold a hearing into the incident, but the Dublin County Board believe the lack of evidence will see the ban lifted.
Dubs boss Jim Gavin is happy to abide by the association’s procedures as he prepares for Sunday’s NFL final against Tyrone.
“There is a process there to take place and we all need that due process take place. The process is ongoing. I think it would be unfair of me to put any prejudice on it by making an uninformed comment until I see what they say,” said Gavin.
Cork Minors Win
CORK managed to hold on for a one point win over Cavan in the All-Ireland under 21 semifinal in Tullamore on Saturday and will now play Galway in the decider after their victory over Kildare at the same venue . . .
FORMER Tipperary dual player Brian Coen is free to play for the Wicklow footballers against Longford next month after appearing for his club St. Patrick’s in a hurling game last weekend . . .
JOE McMahon may play for Tyrone against Dublin in Sunday’s NFL final at Croke Park, but Peter Harte is definitely out with a hamstring injury . . .