Kilkenny came agonisingly close to capturing their first Liam MacCarthy Cup since 2015 last year against Limerick.
Ultimately, it was not to be for Brian Cody, in what would be his last game in charge of the Cats.
However, there was more to the result than meets the eye according to one former Kilkenny All-Ireland winner.
Speaking exclusively to KCLR’s Scoreline, Andy Comerford lamented the performance of referee Colm Lyons which he believes cost Kilkenny dearly.
He began: “We were horribly unlucky. A few incidents with the referee cost us dearly. “
“I do not want to be an advocate of downing referees, but when you get a raw deal, you get a raw deal and you have to be vocal about it. The referee did a poor job in the All-Ireland and it came down to tight margins, it came down to one puck of the ball.
“Now you say Limerick is an out-of-the-stratosphere team, I do not buy into that. Obviously, they are going for four in a row, and they are a good solid team. When they developed this team, they were looking over the hedge seeing what Kilkenny was doing.”
“We had a few scoring opportunities that we did not take at a crucial time. It would of putting us a couple of points ahead, but then the doubts started creeping in. We went toe to toe with them, and a small few things went wrong for us. So we are not that far away.”
While it is a game in which fans can look back on with a sense of regret, Kilkenny supporters carry with them new confidence coming off their display on the day.
A new era was heralded when Derek Lyng took charge of the Leinster champions, with three competitive games being played so far in the league. Kilkenny have won two of them, with a loss to Tipperary in UPMC Nowlan Park the only blemish.
Although fans were disappointed with the loss, it was generally accepted that Kilkenny are trying out new players and a style of play before the Championship begins.
“We have genuine hurling supporters in Kilkenny, who know what hurling is all about, we have purists. They are not into booing and all that baloney that goes on in matches,” said the O’Loughlin Gaels club man.
“That is not what is part of what Kilkenny hurling supporters are about. They realise that a team has to be built and that it is going to take time.”
“Genuine hurling people can see three, four, five games down the line that he is learning, the players are learning, the team is developing, and that what it was all about.”
“Other teams had to re-develop their game because Kilkenny was so successful. We have to stick to our style of hurling. Say right listen “We are good ball players, we can retain possession, we can move around, we can get scores, these are attributes that only Kilkenny players have”. Genuine Kilkenny supporters will be patient and will realise this is essentially a team with new management that is trying to develop a few players, and develop a team. Without a doubt, it has to come, they won at under 20, so it will come good. “
“We will come again. If you go to any under 13, under 15 games, there are excellent players coming through. We may have taken our eye off the ball, the county board , when we were successful and we are paying the price for the last couple of years. But they will come true.”
Listen back to the full interview with Andy below on Scoreline Extra: