Donoghue uses victor’s platform to have a go at timing of replay

Cody delighted by the way Kilkenny fought back to get within shouting distance of Galway

Galway manager Micheál Donoghue and  Kilkenny manager Brian Cody during the Leinster final replay at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Galway manager Micheál Donoghue and Kilkenny manager Brian Cody during the Leinster final replay at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

The sun blazed, the hurling caught fire. Down in the tunnel Micheál Donoghue has a bit on his mind. Not usually the voluble type, he uses his victor’s platform to have a mini go at the fact that this replay had to be played here and now, at this short notice in this sort of heat. You can only take this kind of swing when you’ve just lifted the cup – but they have and he does.

“Yeah, look, I think it’s hard. Probably both teams – obviously you would be mindful of it, but you wouldn’t have given it huge consideration. It is hard for any team to come out three weeks in a row. You think when the fixtures were made, was there any allowance made for a draw?

“In fairness, the GAA would have nothing without the players, and the players are the most integral part of it. Even with the weather we’ve had, putting the match on at three o’clock – what was wrong with putting it on at 5 o’clock this evening with the players’ welfare in mind?”

Along with the nice shiny cup, Galway’s reward is a three-week break now before their All-Ireland semi-final. Limerick next weekend, playing a third weekend on the bounce – that’s nobody’s idea of a fun time. Donoghue made no bones about it either.

“The biggest advantage is we’ve the couple of weeks to regroup and to refocus and go again. We said many times, no two games are going to be the same, and they’re never going to be. Obviously after last week I said immediately after there were some elements of the game that we weren’t too happy with. Some of it Kilkenny forced upon us, so we knew we had to come out of the traps early.

“Look, it is really hard and people mightn’t comprehend how hard it is to turn around in seven days. So the first part of the week is just about recovery. The latter part is just focusing then on areas of improvement from the previous week.

Massive experience

But, look ,you know I’ve said many times, these boys have massive experience both good and bad. They always draw on it, you know, and they showed huge quality and huge leadership throughout the week, and, most importantly, huge desire to go on and win the game.”

For Brian Cody the irritation of continually going behind in games is outweighed by the pleasure he clearly takes in seeing his players fight their way back. They ran out of road here but he was visibly delighted by the fact that they got themselves within shouting distance at all.

“Well, you can talk about a game of two halves from our point of view,” he said. “We gave them a lot of leeway in the first half. We started off okay, but they benefitted from a lot of our mistakes in the first half, and as it went on the score began to widen. It looked fairly bleak for us for a while

“But then we got them in at half time and they realised what they had to do. There was nothing fantastic said in the dressing room or anything like that. But the response of our players was magnificent in the second half against the best team in the country. We brought a huge lead down to two points and it’s very, very difficult to sustain that in these conditions. But we fought to the bitter end and they pulled away a small bit in the end, and that was it really.

“The lads just had to get going and get into their stride, and to have a bit of confidence. They had to realise that the game lasts for a long time. It doesn’t last for 35 minutes, it lasts for 75 usually.

Using the ball well

“It’s a question of just getting out there and getting on the ball and using the ball well. We got a point I think pretty immediately after half time, and suddenly players began to realise ‘look it, we’re in the game – let’s get going and let’s keep going’.”

The quick turnaround ahead of their quarter-final against Limerick isn’t ideal but Cody didn’t get to be Cody by dwelling on that kind of thing.

“It’s going to be a huge battle,” he said, not without a certain amount of relish. “Limerick were being spoken of really by lots of people as the biggest danger to Galway. We know the quality they have– they’re a top team. But we’ve just got to take on the challenge. If we had won today we’d be in the All-Ireland semi-final. If we win next week we’ll be in the All-Ireland semi-final. So I don’t mind postponing for a week if that happens.”

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