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Monday, July 30, 2012
Kilkenny boss Brian Cody is relishing the prospect of another titanic championship collision with Tipperary.
The two counties have met in the previous three All-Ireland finals but are scheduled to do battle this year on August 19 at the penultimate stage of the championship.
Kilkenny, beaten Leinster finalists, survived a scare from Limerick yesterday before an unanswered 2-5 blast during the second half took them clear of danger.
And now thoughts turn firmly to what promises to be an epic showdown with Munster champions Tipp. But Kilkenny have their own problems to contend with, as Richie Hogan will miss the game through suspension following a straight red card yesterday.
Cody revealed, however, that Richie Power should be okay after taking a massive, legitimate hit from Wayne McNamara before half-time.
Looking ahead to the Tipp challenge, Cody reflected: "One of us is going to be in the All-Ireland final, that much is for sure. Whatever happens it is going to be a huge challenge, a huge battle and it has the makings of a great All-Ireland semi-final, two great semi-finals in fact."
Limerick made it one hell of a battle during the first half yesterday before Kilkenny eventually pulled clear.
But Cody insisted that he had been expecting a competitive encounter from the Shannonsiders, who were rank outsiders with the bookies before throw-in.
Cody said: "It was a really competitive game and Limerick brought everything to it we thought they would. They played excellently and we were put to the pin of our collar right through the first half and were lucky to be ahead at half-time."
Kilkenny appeared to play better against the breeze in the second half and Cody explained: "It was decent wind to an extent I suppose but it’s not that big a handicap in hurling — the ball travels a long way and sometimes it turns out like that — but I’d say it was an overall improvement in play from us rather than the wind."
Two goals in a minute during Kilkenny’s second half purple patch killed the Limerick challenge and Cody nodded: "It was crucial we got those scores and that gave us a bit of daylight, obviously. We picked things up a lot and it made it more difficult for them. Those scores were crucial, definitely."
But just when Kilkenny’s fortunes took a turn for the better, Hogan was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident and the Cats finished the game with 14 men.
"Not a full view," replied Cody when asked had he seen what happened. "I think Richie had the ball and after that I don’t know what happened — except he got a red card; I don’t know the ins and outs of it. The linesman spoke to the referee. It was a serious decision — that’s for sure."
Ultimately, Kilkenny are back on the road following their Leinster final mauling against Galway. But it wasn’t easy and for spells, the All-Ireland champions were rattled by Limerick. Cody reiterated: "We expected a phenomenal challenge from Limerick. You go back to Limerick v Tipperary — they did something similar to Tipp in that game as well. That’s the level they’re at and the quality of the opposition.
"They out-hurled us in many areas in the first half and we were lucky to be a point ahead at half-time so the response had to be serious and thanks be to God it was."
Cody also bristled questioning about the possible introduction of score technology after some more dubious calls yesterday.
Richie Power had a first half free called wide while Limerick were awarded a point when Kilkenny goalkeeper David Herity looked to have prevented a score.
Cody groaned: "I don’t have a clue. I don’t think about it. I have no idea.
"I am not interested in bringing up the debate on scoring technology. Whatever happened, happened."
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