Belfast Telegraph

Declan Bogue: How the Cats always get their claws out

They sure pick their moments, this Kilkenny team…

There were Galway, five points down when Cyril Donnellan fastened upon a loose ball and hammered it past David Herity in the Kilkenny goal. ‘Oh no' said panto villain, referee James McGrath and pulled the ball back for a free given for an offence that occurred something like four days before.

Joe Canning swept it over, before he caressed a sideline cut over the bar and between the sticks to leave three points in it with 24 minutes to go.

Donnellan was then held back by JJ Delaney and threw his stick back. It split Delaney's head, and the offender was shown red.

In 10 minutes time, Galway had gone from being three points in arrears to being 16 points and a man down.

Colin Fennelly and man-of-the-match Walter Walsh had claimed goals that owed nothing to fine skills or touch, but everything to do with hunger for the ball and an alertness that makes the Cats such a threat.

It used to be said that DJ Carey scoring a goal for Kilkenny was worth six points, due to the reaction it would elicit from the fans. There's a lot of truth in that, just as there is a lot of truth that Carey was the founding father of the Kilkenny Killer Goals Committee.

Six All-Irelands after Carey won his last, they have that culture ingrained. Taggy Fogarty's goal was the difference between the Cats and Cork in the 2006 final.

Henry Shefflin and Eddie Brennan's early goals in the first 10 minutes of the 2007 final made it impossible for Limerick to recover.

A year later and Eddie’s two bullets were merely a flourish to the other 1-30 scored in the heaviest-ever defeat in a final, from the best team ever.

That's what Kilkenny do to you. Have manners, or be humiliated.

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