Kilkenny boss Brian Cody said “there was no massive thing we did differently” for Saturday night’s All-Ireland final replay, but he did point to the significance of Colin Fennelly’s display.
The Ballyhale man hit two first-half goals to set Kilkenny on their way to victory over Waterford.
“They got a goal early. We replied. Colin replied – great goals. He got two great goals but his workrate was outstanding. He won balls he had no right to win at different times, created scores, won frees.
“It was frantic, it was helter-skelter, it was magnificent really. The attitude and the determination, the skill level from both teams. They scored some brilliant scores, the defending.”
Cody was concerned about the injury midfielder Michael Fennelly picked up late on - “We’ll have to get it looked at but it’s not going to be simple,” - but was happy to be back in the big show in September: “We’re in the All-Ireland final. It’s a good place to be.”
Derek McGrath’s red-rimmed eyes told the story of defeat in the white and blue corner.
“We’re absolutely broken-hearted, the work we put in over the last few years, everything was on the line and they left everything out there.
“In that regard there’s a small bit of consolation, being involved in two massive games but try telling that to the lads, or myself. It’s so hard.”
McGrath didn’t dwell on the performance of referee James McGrath: “I said after the league final - I tried to take the high moral ground that day in terms of Diarmuid (Kirwan)’s mistakes, I thought James (McGrath) made a few mistakes towards the end, and they proved costly.
“But I think we’re trying to develop a Waterford that will get over the line. We might be irate on the inside, but we’ll try to remain as stoic as we can.”
Invited to mine positives from the year, the De La Salle clubman did his best.
“You can, I’m due to start another three-year term in October, but I can’t even contemplate facing into that now. I’m very proud of the players, we trained Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day . . . we left it all out there.
“There are no excuses, so there’s consolation in that, but the best team always wins the game.”
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