Eamonn Kelly acknowledged that his Offaly team left themselves with a mountain to climb after a terrible start and put it down to perhaps being “too pumped up”.
That may not have seemed apparent to spectators as Kilkenny’s experimental side cut through Offaly’s static defence with ease, running up an early 15-point lead.
However, as Kelly searched for answers afterwards, he said it was possible that they just tried too hard and were too ‘pumped up’, leaving all of that adrenaline and energy back on the team bus.
“We were up for this fight, we weren’t coming down to fulfill a fixture,” said Kelly.
“Maybe we were too pumped up and that’s something we need to look at. We felt we made some wrong decisions and they’re the things that you have to learn from.
“The league is over and it’s Championship hurling from here on. If you make those wrong decisions in the Championship then your year is going to be over very quickly,” he said.
Offaly will play Westmeath on May 1 in Mullingar after slipping into Leinster’s qualifier series of games for weaker counties. On this display, and on the evidence of their 1B campaign which saw them avoid a relegation scrap narrowly, there is no guarantee they will get out of that four-team group. Former Kerry boss Kelly accepted that reality but said they are taking the positives.
“We never turned up for the first 20 minutes, we stood off and Kilkenny were getting onto the breaks and finding their men. We were making decisions we wouldn’t normally make. But when we just said ‘relax, just hurl and just get onto the breaks’. Then we were much better. The 10 minutes before half-time and after half-time we hurled very well.
“But then Kilkenny, as Kilkenny do, they came along and put in two more quick goals to take the wind our of our sails. But there’s some positives there from the parts where we hurled well.”
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