Rebels inflict the final blow as Cats run out of lives
Cody furious over Shefflin sending-off as Thurles witnesses the end of a hurling era
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody congratulates Cork’s Jimmy Barry Murphy after the game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Cork are reborn but there was a finality about this defeat for Kilkenny. And Henry Shefflin.
Sporting stories so often end in failure. They almost have to. Zinedine Zidane’s last act as a footballer was to walk past the World Cup trophy after being red carded for head-butting Marco Materazzi.
Yesterday, in Thurles, Shefflin was sent off on 35 minutes by referee Barry Kelly for a second yellow card – the first for a chop on 10 minutes – having high-tackled Jamie Coughlan as the latter attempted to clear his lines. .
Following Cork’s 0-19 to 0-14 victory in this All-Ireland quarter-final, Brian Cody was livid, perplexed, disgusted.
“I couldn’t believe it to be honest,” said Cody. “I can’t understand it. People might be able to understand it, I don’t know.
“Referees are flashing yellow cards nowadays, it is gone mad altogether. But that’s the way they want it. That’s the way they like it.
“I’ve no idea why Henry Shefflin got two yellow cards. I know the second one was so clear to me, that there was a player falling down. His hurley was very, very low. When a player falls the hurl obviously ends up around his neck but Henry didn’t put the hurl up there, the person put his body down into it.”
But before Shefflin walked they were already in dire straits as Patrick Horgan’s resulting free made it 0-11 to 0-6. In truth, Cork devoured them, dominating all areas of play.
Moment after half-time Richie Power was denied a goal from a penalty by a brilliant double save by Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Power soon went off due to concussion.
Listening to Cody afterwards, before the entire squad slipped en masse out the back door and away to Nowlan Park for the Bruce Springsteen gig, it sounded like the end.
The contest was done and dusted with 10 minutes to spare. Gone for 2013 but, as Cody conceded, the greatest team of all time and their best player may be gone for good.
“We’ve had success for a long, long time now and are now facing into what a lot of counties have been facing for a long, long time I suppose,” said Cody.
“They fought their way back into the game even when it was lost. Their heads never dropped. That’s the team that they have been and that they are. That’s the way sport goes. Today we were on the wrong end of it.