Brian Cody took a seat in front of the media, after Kilkenny’s Leinster final stalemate with Galway, and planted his tongue in his cheek.
In what might even be interpreted as mind games, ahead of next weekend’s replay in Thurles, the 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager said Galway “have all the hurlers” and operate at a different “level”.
He suggested they, perhaps, failed to live up to their favourites tag, and to progress to the All-Ireland semi-finals, because they were complacent.
“The last day we played them we were competitive to an extent, but, in the end, they did pull away very well,” said Cody.
“They probably threatened to do that again today a few times. We rallied well and kept the battle going.
But, again, possibly with all the talk about it, they were maybe thinking they would win the game, so they’ll be a hell of a lot tougher to beat next Sunday. Because they have been warned now.
“When you’re being talked up as really hot favourites, which they were, it can sometimes just lead to a small bit of complacency.
“I’m not saying that they were, but they’re the top team, they have all the hurlers, and they’re the ones that are going to be so hard to beat again. We’re not at that level, yet.”
Cody was in good spirits after the dour draw, which was sealed by TJ Reid’s 71st minute point, from way out on the right wing.
Cody said he has no problem going to Semple Stadium next weekend for the replay, even though it means playing a Leinster final in Thurles.
The switch is necessary, as Michael Buble is performing at Croke Park, so the pitch will be out of commission.
“He played junior hurling for someone years ago,” laughed Cody. “He was a good hurler in his time.”
The most successful hurling manager ever also casually admitted that he thought extra-time would be played after yesterday’s draw.
Asked if he was expecting the extra period, Cody said: “I kind of wasn’t sure, to be honest. I kind of was, to be honest about it. I never study these things too much. There was talk (of extra-time). I heard, during the year, that every game goes to extra-time and had to be decided on the day. Was that not the original intention? I don’t know.”
Cody was deadly serious when praising his backs, who performed well on Galway’s man-mountain attackers.
Paddy Deegan led the full-back line superbly, while Padraig Walsh was immense beside him and Cillian Buckley cleared tonnes of ball.
Some of the players really stood up and played with terrific drive and leadership. Everybody else played at a very good level, as well. I certainly would be happy with the performance of our players.
Galway won their group game comfortably, when the sides met in Salthill, but Cody said he always expected a better Kilkenny display this time.
“You’re supposed to progress, as the year goes on,” he said. “Otherwise, the training wouldn’t be up to much, really. It was a different time of the year, that game.
“You can’t legislate for what’s going to happen on any given day. I mean, we would be hoping to be as competitive next Sunday. But who knows? As regards how we played today, yeah, we’d be happy.”
Billy Ryan clipped two points on his Championship debut in attack and Enda Morrissey nailed a vital score late-on to help secure the draw.
Greenhorns Martin Keoghan and Richie Leahy lined out in the half-forwards, as well.
“I’ve been saying, since the start of the year, that I have great confidence in the panel of players we have,” said Cody.
“It’s not the general opinion around the place, not even in our own county. There wasn’t a huge amount of expectation there. But all we are is in the Leinster final. And now we’re in the replayed Leinster final. We’ll see what happens.”