The RTE pundits were baffled by the late Waterford conservatism that allowed Kilkenny snatch a draw in the first All-Ireland SHC semi-final.
“Kilkenny were absolutely blessed to get out of there,” admitted former Cats forward Eddie Brennan. “It was going to need a goal.”
Walter Walsh got the crucial Kilkenny goal, but Brennan argued he was helped by Waterford’s tactics in the latter stages when they drew most of their players behind the ball in a bid to hold onto a three-point advantage.
“Waterford went away from what served them so well throughout the match. They didn't kill off that match,” said Brennan.
“In the last 10 or 12 minutes, they didn’t trust themselves enough. They invited Kilkenny on and they got the break.”
Former All-Ireland winning Clare manager Ger Loughnane praised Kilkenny’s character for surviving a game they should have lost.
“Kilkenny showed why they have won so many All-Ireland. They never gave up. They should have been beaten out of sight.
“But it was a brilliant game. I haven’t enjoyed a game like that for a long time.”
Former Déise star Ken McGrath called it one of Waterford’s “greatest ever performances”, but accepted that nerves played a part with his county so close to a championship win over the Cats for the first time since 1959.
“When you’re waiting so long to beat a team, you end up retreating back. We got sucked back a small bit. And it did cost us.
“But it was old-school, hip-to-hip, toe-to-toe hurling. It’s after kickstarting the whole thing.”
“It was inexperience. It was kamikaze,” said Loughnane. “They have never come as close since 1959 as that.”
Brennan also paid tribute to Waterford’s work-rate throughout the game.
“They out-Kilkennyed what you would typically associate with Kilkenny.”