Managers happy to start again


GAA:Joe Canning’s pointed free for Galway in injury time sent the All-Ireland senior hurling final to a replay but the contentious decision to award the free was one which the opposing managers had very different views on.

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham was convinced the referee’s decision was the correct one.

“It definitely was a free," he said afterwards. "I’m sure everybody knows that. Everybody will fight that it isn’t a free at that stage of the game, naturally.

You’ll always dispute a free at that stage of the game but Brian Cody’s a legend and (Kilkenny are) true gentlemen off the pitch but they’ll fight for their lives when they’re there, but so do we all.”

Brian Cody saw things differently but admitted there was little reason to contest the decision.

"I didn’t think it was a free but that’s not the point. I don’t have a terrific reputation as a referee or anything like that. The referee referees the game and that’s grand as far as I’m concerned. What I thought about it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. The referee decides who gets frees and who doesn’t get frees. I can’t do that. That’s the way it works."

This was Brian Cody’s ninth All-Ireland final as Kilkenny manager and the 58-year-old admitted it was one of the most memorable his side have contested during his reign in charge.

“It’s the first time I’ve been involved in one that ended in a draw, that’s for sure. It was an amazing game really. Galway were very much on top in the first half - they went in (at half-time) five points up.”

Cody added: “I suppose we were decent in the second half. We had a lead coming up to the end of it and they got the equaliser so it’s an amazing kind of a day to find two All-Ireland finals drawn in minor and senior. We’ll start all over again.”

Henry Shefflin spurred Kilkenny onto a second half comeback, scoring 12 points in total over the course of the game and his decision to point a penalty was not one that Brian Cody was willing to criticise.

“I never tell Henry what to do in those situations. He looked at me and I just shrugged my shoulders. I don’t tell him what to do in those situations. If he had gone for goal and it had been saved, it would be a crazy decision and if he’d scored it, he would’ve been a genius. He got a point to put us ahead so that’s fair enough.”

Cody went on to praise Shefflin for the manner of his overall performance.

“I thought he was outstanding. He came to centre-forward. He just upped things in a big way. He won hard ball and got a lot of things going for us but he’s been doing that for us for a long time so it was no surprise.”

The replays for the senior and minor All-Ireland hurling finals have been scheduled for Sunday September 30th. Cunningham was visibly relieved to have taken the opportunity to contest the final again in three weeks.

“We’re delighted to be there again," he said. "It’s a huge learning curve for us and we think we’ll take more from it for the next day but it’ll be down to the wire again. It was always going to be nip and tuck and very close with Kilkenny.”

The St Thomas’s clubman added: “They powered into us in the second half. We had a great start to a great first half but maybe lost our way for the first 10 minutes of the second half.”

“It’s just a pity we couldn’t keep that going in the second half but you never will. You’ll never dominate Kilkenny for a full match. They’re always going to have their good times as well. It was a great display of hurling from both sides.”

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