In the end, there were just two points in it.
Trailing by four at the break, in a sun-drenched Croke Park on the first All-Ireland Sunday held in July in modern times, Kilkenny needed a big second half effort to claim a Liam MacCarthy Cup that hasn’t been Noreside since 2015.
The effort went in as those on the pitch battled on while those coming off the bench – Walsh, Donnelly, Hogan, Blanchfield, Murphy – all chipped it with scores. The only issue here was that Limerick were able to match Kilkenny’s never-say-die attitude and stifle Kilkenny’s momentum on occasions where it looked to be building.
“We’re the team who came out of the wrong side of it. Everybody is just heartbroken but I absolutely thought the effort of our players was magnificent”, said Kilkenny manager Cody in speaking after the game.
“Obviously, Limerick won the game and are outstanding champions and what they’ve achieved today, three in a row tells its own story. Full credit to them and well done to them but (I’ve) huge admiration for what our players put into it.”
TJ Reid’s first-half free-taking and second-half goals from Billy Ryan and Mossy Keoghan kept Kilkenny in touch before Richie Hogan came off the bench to level the game as the minutes ticked down to the final whistle.
“I knew we were going to keep going at it. I also knew that they were going to not lie down for sure (sic) so it was going to go to the very end and unfortunately we just came up short.”
“For sure, a great point”, said Cody of Hogan’s arrival, his first appearance in a Kilkenny shirt all season long. “There were so many great scores during the whole game, Richie is just one player in the whole panel and obviously has given great service for sure. Again, I thought our players were magnificent.”
“Today is a day for disappointment, we’ll go back to Kilkenny, the lads will go back to their clubs and the lads kick off again.”