Sports Digest: Killkenny Cats purr in big win over Tipperary
Revenge was indeed sweet for Kilkenny as they lifted yet another All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship crown at Croke Park on Sunday
Killkenny Cats purr in big win over Tipperary
Tipperary's John O'Keefe and Shane McGrath tackle Henry Shefflin of Kilkenny during the All-Ireland hurling final at Croke Park on Sunday.
Revenge was indeed sweet for Kilkenny as they lifted yet another All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship crown at Croke Park on Sunday, a sentiment even manager Brian Cody could identify with.
The Cats deservedly won a thrilling McCarthy Cup decider as they dethroned the reigning champions Tipperary by four points, 2-17 to 1-16, in front of almost 82,000 fans at headquarters.
The victory was of particular significance for Kilkenny, coming as it did a year almost to the day that Tipperary stopped their drive for five successive titles in its tracks.
Even the ice cool Cody could acknowledge that much on a day that saw goals from Michael Fennelly and Richie Hogan either side of half-time prove decisive.
A delighted Cody told RTE, “It’s massively sweet. For the last few years we have been coming in as champions and favorites to win the match. This year was very different. We were beaten by Tipperary last year.
“Tipperary were great champions, they set very high standards and they were hot favorites to win. In those situations it becomes sweet to win because we had to play at a serious level to win it from minute one.”
Kilkenny, inspired by the likes of Tommy Walsh and JJ Delaney, played with a real determination to win from the first whistle to the last as they kept the 2010 champions scoreless for the first 16 minutes.
“We got into the game very quickly,” admitted Cody. “There was a massive resolve within the panel to stamp a bit of authority on the game. We didn’t do that last year. We were playing catch-up the whole time and that is not a good recipe for success.
“We planned well for it and there was huge hunger and determination. It was very, very evident in the way played all over the field. We tackled very well, we chased, we harried and played intelligent hurling. When we had the ball we used it very well and created a huge amount of scoring chances.
“We had a plan for it. If we had said before the game that we’ll just go and do the best we wouldn’t be standing here with the McCarthy Cup, that is for certain.
“We had to look at the whole thing, look at Tipperary and make a plan to beat them. They had earned that kind of respect; we gave them that respect and we planned accordingly. It worked out very well.”
Cody won his eighth All-Ireland crown as manager of Kilkenny on Sunday, but once again he refused to speculate on his own future with the Cats.
“I will certainly enjoy this one and take it from there. I have no idea what I’m going to do as I always say but I will enjoy this,” said Cody.
Kilkenny captain Brian Hogan was also keen to savor the moment as the Cats fans saluted their team at the end of a frantic final and again at a triumphant homecoming on Monday night.
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