“Kilkenny hurling moves on“ said Brian Cody as he fully accepted his team were beaten by a better Waterford team in Saturday's All-Ireland semi-final thriller.
A first Leinster title in four years will be something to build on for 2021 but following a second-half collapse, a second in the space of three games, it’s not something he is considering.
“Right now, you don’t look at those things at all. Right now, it’s just disappointment with the match that was played today. You’re disappointed for that and you don’t start thinking about what happened maybe a few weeks ago. The reality is Kilkenny hurling moves on, Kilkenny hurling goes on and next year comes very quickly and that’s the reality.”
Kilkenny lost a 16-point half-time lead to Dublin in their semi-final before recovering to claim the win. Here, they were nine points up close to the end of the first half before Waterford hit them for 1-11 in the third quarter.
He accepts there were parallels between the matches. “You could draw similarities with it because we had a lead against Dublin as well, a much bigger lead at half-time, and we made it very difficult for ourselves as well. But, no, the quality of Waterford today was serious and they deserved to win the game and that was it. We had seven points of a lead, they get a goal, suddenly it’s four and it’s very little.”
Cody said it would be premature to look at how the Kilkenny game-plan fell apart in the second half. “It’s very early to look at all these things now. They’re strong in the sky. Their players are good at doing that, good at winning ball. Essentially, it’s hurling and the game is played out there and they certainly haven’t done anything that hasn’t been done before. They got a huge impact going in the second half and deservedly won the game.”
He dismissed the perception Waterford would run out of steam with this being their third game in as many weekends.
“I never bought into that perception. These lads are superbly fit players and three weeks in a row sure they love doing that. Players would love to be playing every week.”
Regarding the Championship going ahead, Cody stressed the GAA never dictated it should go ahead. “As far as I’m concerned, the GAA only pursued what they were allowed to pursue. Neither the GAA, ourselves or anybody else is allowed to dictate what happens with regard to the virus that’s out there. The competition could only take place with the goodwill of the people who are organising that.”