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Cool Cats get cream after fighting off Galway threat

Kilkenny 1-22 Galway 1-18

By Declan Bogue

Published 07/09/2015

Pressure on: Galway's Conor Whelan is closed down by Shane Prendergast and Cillian Buckley of Kilkenny
Pressure on: Galway's Conor Whelan is closed down by Shane Prendergast and Cillian Buckley of Kilkenny

We'd all like to hear something different from Brian Cody, but he tends to stick to the same themes. Given that Kilkenny have now harvested eight of the last 10 All-Ireland hurling titles, we have no grounds to question the process.

By half-time, his side were three points down. It could have been a lot more.

So you want to find out the secret of what happened during the break at half-time. Although he conceded that the injured Jackie Tyrell had a few choice words, he rapidly gets back onto a familiar script.

"We didn't hurl as we would have liked to have hurled in the first half. They hit us with everything in the first half. Their work rate, their relentless physicality, never mind their hurling," explained the James Stephens man.

"I thought our response, the players' response, I thought it was magnificent really in the second half.

"Our relentless spirit to drive on and our hurling was superb as well. We pegged back the lead early and we just drove on, really."

Cody keeps it simple. Always the best course of action when you are manager of a county with a steady county board, only one code to work with, and a flood of natural talent guaranteed by the prevailing culture within the county.

The only thing Cody has to do is remain ruthless and remain above sentiment. He mastered that some time ago.

It seems that it doesn't matter how you play Kilkenny, they will find a way in the end.

Facing into the second half here, they had a defence that was in trouble in every single match-up, a puckout strategy that was being disturbed by Galway's big men around the middle, and a number of players who hadn't imposed themselves on the game, such as Richie Hogan, for example.

Never mind. They shot down the westerners 0-14 to 1-4 during the second half, making only two changes and minimal tweaks.

When it came to it, every man just increased his efforts, ratcheting up the tension until it broke Galway's psyche.

The evidence lies in a neat snapshot of the last 10 minutes.

When Conor Fogarty was blown for a foul on Joe Canning, Galway's main man had a lapse in concentration and screwed his free wide.

That mistake was compounded by further wides from substitutes Greg Lally and Conor Cooney that sapped their will when they could have put a run together and given Kilkenny a scare.

KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh 0-1, K Joyce, C Buckley; M Fennelly 0-2, C Fogarty 0-1; W Walsh 0-2, R Hogan 0-2, TJ Reid 1-7, 5f, 2x '65'; G Aylward 0-3, C Fennelly 0-2, E Larkin 0-2. Subs: R Power for Hogan (60m), J Power for Aylward (62m),

Yellow cards: M Fennelly (42m), C Fennelly (44m)

Red cards: 0

GALWAY: C Callanan; I Tannian, A Harte, P Mannion; J Hanbury, Daithí Burke, J Coen; A Smith, David Burke 0-1; J Glynn, C Donnellan, J Flynn 0-4, 3f; C Whelan 0-3, J Canning 1-8, 1-5f, C Mannion. Subs: D Collins 0-2 for Harte (22m), C Cooney for Smith (56m), G Lally for Donnellan (64m), S Maloney for J Flynn (66m)

Yellow cards: Coen (34m), Daithí Burke (39m), Smith (42m)

Red cards: 0

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

Attendance: 82,300

Belfast Telegraph

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