Sports Digest: Killkenny Cats purr in big win over Tipperary


“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.

“We were lucky to go in only five points down at halftime. Kilkenny showed savage hunger again and they showed all the hallmarks that have made then a great team.
“Hats off to Kilkenny, they showed they were real champions to come back and play like that. We struggled to get out of the blocks today for whatever reason.

Kilkenny probably looked a bit that bit hungrier and that bit fresher than us.
“We were just hanging on to their coat-tails. Kilkenny seemed to be moving the ball a bit better and seemed to be hungrier.”

Tipperary never lived up to their billing as favorites to retain their trophy on Sunday as Kilkenny held them scoreless for the first 16 minutes.

The 2010 champions must lick their wounds now, but Ryan believes his team will live to fight another day.

“I’m very proud of the Tipperary guys,” added boss Ryan.  “They’ve worn the blue and gold jersey with great pride all year, so full credit to our guys as well.

“The average age is something like 24 or 25. There are a lot of winners in that dressing room, guys that have been very successful at underage. I think the future is positive for Tipperary, we have a lot to look forward to despite this result.

“You go out every day and try to play as well as you can and if you do that you’re going to have a good chance. I suppose on Sunday we didn’t play as well as we can and maybe we weren’t let. We’ll have to sit down and have a look at it.”
Dublin forward Paul Ryan is winning his battle to be fit for the All-Ireland football final against Kerry on September 18 – and Diarmuid Connolly could yet beat the suspension that threats his place on the team for the decider.

Flynn expects to resume full training with the Dubs this week despite pulling a hamstring in the semifinal win over Donegal last month.

A scan has proven the hamstring tear is nowhere near as far as first feared, and Flynn has been told he can make a full return to training at least 10 days before the big game.

Full-back Rory O’Carroll also expects to be available for selection as he recovers from the hip injury which forced him to limp out of the first-half of the win over Donegal.

Meanwhile, Pat Gilroy is confident that Diarmuid Connolly will be cleared to play in the final despite picking up a four week suspension after his dismissal in the semi.

Dublin boss Gilroy believes Connolly will be cleared to play on a technicality.
“I genuinely believe that he has got more than a fair chance,” said Gilroy.
Kennelly Quits

Kerry-born Aussie Rules legend Tadhg Kennelly has announced that will quit the sport and terminate his contract with the Sydney Swans at the end of the season after finally giving in to a long term knee injury.

The Listowel native, who won an All-Ireland football medal during a brief stint with Kerry two years ago before returning to Australia, wants to take up a career in the media, but not before he bows out with another rules championship medal.
“I’ve had an incredible career since arriving in Australia as a teenager,” said Kennelly.

“I couldn’t have asked for more, but now I feel the time is right to move on to the next phase of my career. I hope to still be involved in the AFL in some capacity, whether coaching or media.

“I’ve been here nearly half my life and want to thank the club for instilling such strong morals and values into not just my football life but my everyday life.”