Kilkenny and Dublin served up a feast of hurling in Nowlan Park on Sunday when the Dubs scored six goals and 12 points against the Ireland champions and still lost!
Kilkenny came storming back in a whirlwind second half to rack up the winning score of five goals and 16 points, enough to win the NHL game by a single score.
Three points from Matthew Ruth at the end of play saw the Cats emerge victorious on a 5-16 to 6-12 scoreline as they maintained their 100% start to the league season.
Cats boss Brian Cody said, “It was amazing the way the game turned out and I’m sure the crowd that turned out enjoyed it.
“Obviously, we weren’t happy at conceding six goals, but we got the win we wanted and it’s another two points for us in the league.
“What pleased me most was the perseverance we showed when it looked the game was slipping from us on more than one occasion.
“The players refused to lie down and kept at it. Different players stood up on different occasions and took the game by the scruff of the neck. We got the goal late on and that proved decisive in the end.”
Dublin boss Anthony Daly believes his team did their county proud even in defeat, and he praised several players in particular.
“Danny Sutcliffe is making great progress, playing very well. He’s got a great attitude, and in fairness to some of the other young players, like Eamon Dillon, who came in and got a great goal, it’s great credit to the system Dublin have in place, that they can bring through fellas like that, and they’re ready for the step up,” said Daly.
“And Joey Boland too, after a stinker against Galway, by his own standards, he really had a look at himself, and he was outstanding the last two games. Michael Carton too.
“And to have David O’Callaghan coming back as well is great. We weren’t sure if he’d even make it to half time, because he has very little training at all done, having been out with pneumonia. We were going to take him off at halftime and he asked for a few more minutes, and in fairness he came out and got the old goal straight away.
“So there are some positives, sure. It’s just disappointing not to get something, two close games in a row.
“I suppose we are at least competing with Kilkenny, on a regular basis, although they still normally end up winning. But look, we still think we can compete at this level.
“We’re still National League champions. It doesn’t look like we’re holding on to the title, but until it’s given over to someone else, I suppose we are still champions.”
TYRONE sealed promotion to the top flight of the National Football League with a well deserved win over Galway on Sunday, but manager Mickey Harte wants his team to carry on the winning habit.
“At the start of the season we said we wanted to win as many games as possible to get ourselves out of this division,” said Harte after a fifth consecutive league win.
“Straight wins is the way to do it, we need to keep the roll going by winning games. It’s ironic that when the conditions got bad our players got a spurt of energy.
“We had ourselves ahead at halftime, probably against the run of play, and we knew if we went out and won the second half we’d be in a good place. We won’t be sitting down thinking we are world beaters, we are a work in progress and we have plenty more to do.”
Harte was furious, however, after corner back PJ Quinn was sent-off for an off-the-ball incident involving Padraic Joyce.
He added, “PJ Quinn says he was just pulled around and, in the swing-around, his foot hit him in the knee or somewhere, that he never kicked him or anything they are putting him down for.
“He is adamant that is not the case and I would well believe it. He has never had a red card in his life.”
Sean Cavanagh made his return to the Tyrone colors in the game after a shoulder injury and admitted afterwards, “I feel good. I’m a bit tired but that was my first competitive game in seven-and-a-half months. It’s good to get the lungs open and last the 70 minutes, and it was all about the result.
“It’s mission accomplished. We are qualified and we can push on now. The guys are working really hard. You need to be in sublime condition to do that and we are lucky to be in such good physical fitness to be able to play that sort of football.
“It’s early days yet. It’s only March but things are moving in the right direction.”
KERRY’S newcomers were to the fore again as the Kingdom crushed hosts Cork in the NFL tie on Sunday, boosted by an impressive start.
Goalkeeper Brendan Kealy praised the new Kerry players and said, “It’s great to see it. They’ve come in there and haven’t looked out of place. They have settled in perfectly. It just makes training and everything that much better when everyone is fighting for their place.”