Brian Cody: 'It was just a great battle'
By Cian O'Connell
Despite losing a thrilling All Ireland SHC Final, Kilkenny manager Brian Cody reflected with pride on a gritty display.
Limerick eventually shrugged off Kilkenny's spirited resistance to emerge 1-31 to 2-26 victors at Croke Park.
"It was close for sure at the end," Cody said under the Hogan Stand after the chaotic encounter. "We were playing the All Ireland champions, according to most people's predictions we weren't at the level we needed to be to even have a chance in an All Ireland final, but I think our players just deserve fantastic admiration for the way they fought it out."
Kilkenny responded following the concession of an early goal netted by the instrumental Gearoid Hegarty. "The early obviously gave them a huge boost and great confidence, it give them that cushion nearly the whole way right up to half-time," he added.
"They got some great scores. At half-time we were four points down which is not a big lead obviously in hurling. The second half we fought it out and fought it out.
"We were unfortunate we didn't get to where we wanted to get to, but obviously we congratulate Limerick as All Ireland champions, as three in a row champions which is a huge achievement for them. I think every Kilkenny person should be very, very proud of the way the team performed."
Second half goals from Billy Ryan and Martin Keoghan helped Kilkenny get back on level terms. Did Cody feel that Keoghan's major would propel the black and amber to victory?
"Obviously a score like that is huge, but you never presume anything because of the quality of the opposition is so good and so strong," he responded.
"Physically they are a powerful team too and the goal was terrific for us. It was a question of just keeping going and going. The lads did that, but they were obviously able to keep in touch with points, they kept themselves ahead on the scoreboard even though we did draw level.
"It was just a great battle. We are hugely disappointed, all of the players are, but I just have huge pride in the way they performed."