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
“It’s super,” said Hogan. “We came up here with nothing on the agenda but to make sure we won the match and came back with the Liam McCarthy.
“We came out with the plan to set the tempo and take the match to them and we did that. Maybe we caught Tipp on the hop a bit.
“In fairness to the backs, you only have to look down to the team sheet and you see the quality that is there. We were conscious that Tipp were racking up big scores all year and we needed to curtail that as much as possible.
“Keeping them scoreless for 16 minutes was unexpected but you go out and play each minute and don’t think beyond that. It just so happened that it was the case.”
Tipperary refused to lie down and down at any stage of Sunday’s game when a late Pa Bourke goal almost dragged the Munster champions right back into it.
Kilkenny, though, were as dogged in defense as they were determined in attack, a fact not lost on their captain.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a case where we would romp home with a large lead. We knew it was going to go right down to the wire,” insisted Hogan.
“It came down to three points at one stage and we got a vital point to keep two scores in it. It was very important. We were very conscious of that.”
Full-back Noel Hickey won his eighth All-Ireland senior medal after a starring role in Sunday’s win, a year after Lar Corbett gave him the runaround in the 2010 final.
“Winning All-Ireland medals always are special when you come back. This time last year we were in the dressing room there and we were just sick,” said Hickey.
“We all controlled the wheel. Every one of us to a man said we’d take on our men this time and it worked okay. The one goal chance they got, they got a goal off it, but they never really threatened the goal after that.”
The failed five-in-a-row bid last season was another major factor in Sunday’s turnaround, according to Kilkenny star Richie Power.
“We bottled the hurt from last year and brought it with us,” said the center forward. “We said before the game that we’d been waiting 12 months for this and we have been, it’s true.
“We knew we had a point to prove and thankfully we have. We prepared as well as we ever have for an All-Ireland, the lads had us in tip-top shape, we were very fresh.”
Tipp will be stronger
Declan Ryan vowed that his Tipperary team will bounce back from their Croke Park heartache and be all the stronger for Sunday’s All-Ireland final defeat to Kilkenny.
A year after his predecessor Liam Sheedy guided Tipp to McCarthy Cup glory against the Cats, Ryan had to accept the boot was back on the other foot.
His first season as boss had ended with the biggest disappointment of them all, but Ryan had no complaints about the outcome of a game his team only lost by four points.
“These guys prepared very well all year, it just didn’t happen for us,” Ryan told RTE.
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