Cody: The better team won

Cody: The better team won

Brian Cody had just watched Kilkenny's five in-a-row aspirations crumble but there were no excuses from the Cats boss as he praised Tipperary for their 'comprehensive' victory in yesterday's All-Ireland SHC final.

It was the first time since the 2005 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Galway that the primary school principal had to face the media after losing a Championship match - not a nice feeling but one which he certainly took on the chin.

"We have no, absolutely no ifs, buts or maybes," he said.

"To me the best team always wins the All-Ireland final and that's the way it worked today. Tipp were excellent from start to finish.

"It was comprehensive. They got a good lead and we kept pegging it back. They went ahead again in the second half but we kept going at it. I'm as proud of the team today as I was this day last year.

"To me it's about spirit and keeping going. They weren't good enough but they kept it going.

"Up until a couple of minutes to go we were there, we were hunting and we were chasing. They were seven, maybe eight points up, and we got it back to three again.

"Our backs were driving and we kept going, so literally up to when it became impossible to do it, I was still saying, 'we can get a goal.' But they beat us. That was it."

And Cody said he was not surprised at how strong Tipp were on the day, paying particular mention to how their young players stepped up to the mark.

"Tipp are an excellent team, I said it all along. We're capable of beating Tipp some days and they're capable of beating us some days. Today they beat us.

"They were excellent last year as well, they have excellent hurlers and they have excellent young hurlers coming through.

"They could bring on players who were not even remotely going to weaken their team so I'm not surprised by them.

"I've just come from the Tipperary dressing room and it's a fantastic place to be. We're lucky to have experienced that (winning) dressing room on a number of occasions. Today we just experienced the other one."

Reflecting on the game itself, Cody felt that Tipperary lay down a marker in the opening 35 minutes and his side had to fight tooth and nail to stay in touch.

"We had a couple of chances just after half-time. We could have got ahead, possibly. But, look, both sides missed chances. That's the way it works.

"We were out-hurled for most of the first half. We fought like hell to get back into it and that's not a bad place to be.

"But it's about the performance over 70 minutes and it's what you keep doing and keep doing and they did it very well. You have to defend and defend well.

"They attacked well, they created very good goals and it's very hard right now to think about them."

A lot of the talk in the build-up to this final surrounded Kilkenny's chance of creating history by becoming the first side to claim a five in-a-row of All-Ireland SHC successes.

It did not materialise, but Cody was not changing his script and reiterated that it was never about the 'drive for five' for his talented squad.

"I've said it many times. I'm only disappointed because we didn't win today's final," he added.

"We could have been set up any year. People talked about three in-a-row, then four in-a-row, so I mean I don't see that at all.

"8,000 turned up (at training) last year too. We don't close the doors so that doesn't have anything to do with it.

"But I do know one thing for certain - no team keeps on winning like that forever.

"We appreciate what we've got. I keep saying that all the time. We never felt superior because we had that run, so that's it."

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