“From the frying pan into the fire” was how Brian Cody assessed the prospect of facing All-Ireland champions Limerick in Saturday week’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Defeating a Cork team that themselves dismissed Limerick earlier this summer, Kilkenny will return to Croke Park with optimism and revenge on their minds after last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to the Shannonsiders.
But Cody was playing up Limerick ahead of the re-match: “We’re in an All-Ireland semi-final and we’re very, very happy to be there but we’re acutely aware we’re playing the best team in the country.
“They were the best team in the country last year because they won the All-Ireland final but more so now because they followed it up by winning the League and their form the last day (in the Munster final) was exceptional.
“They’re everybody’s strong favourites to come out on top, not just the next day but with eventual honours. It’s a terrific challenge for us.”
Kilkenny are back in the mix and their will in the third quarter here blew Cork away.
Having struggled for long spells of the first half when Patrick Horgan hit them for two goals, Cody was satisfied with how his players reacted.
“They’re a top-class full-forward line, a top-class forward line, a top-class team obviously,” he said of Cork.
They’re very, very difficult to counteract. Without the application of everybody throughout the field it would have been very, very difficult.
“What I will say that some of our players did have a tough enough time early on in particular but showed real character and real resolve and real honesty and real genuineness not to just drop the head to keep going until the very, very end.
“They’re serious, serious players.
“But again, the application of our players right throughout the field and again the team, and obviously the panel and the players coming in off the bench, it’s just a whole heroic effort from everybody.”
Cody credited Richie Hogan for his 1-2 tally although he was replaced in the 63rd minute.
“It’s huge what Richie contributed to the game and a huge ask for him to do it for 70 minutes.
"Would he do it? Of course he would but it’s a question of utilising the panel and bringing on fresh legs.”