Gaffers Chat - Brian Cody and Ollie Baker on their Leinster showdown

Here’s what the bosses thought after yesterday’s tussle in Tullamore.

Pic: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Kilkenny’s Brian Cody

BRIAN CODY WAS ‘happy’ to survive a tricky Tullamore test yeeterday and the Kilkenny manager praised Offaly’s battling display.

Despite leaking four goals Kilkenny were still too clinical for Ollie Baker’s Offaly, who were direct pumping long deliveries inside.

“They scored four goals and that worked well for them, but they weren’t all a result of winning high ball. There were well created goals too, but we weathered the storm.

“They threw an awful lot at us in every aspect of the game, we pegged it back and we had a lot of point taking to achieve to win the game. We scored 26 points and probably missed half as much as well so we are just happy to be on to the next level.”

Back on the sideline having missed the latter stages of the Allianz HHL Cody reckons that the Faithful County have the potential to take a scalp or two in the All Ireland qualifiers.

“We were expecting a huge battle up here. We expected nothing less and we got it. They rattled us with goals obviously, that can give a team a bit of a cushion and great heart. There is ability in their team, they have great physique and they are going to be a handful for all teams.

“I’ve been saying it for a few years, most people don’t listen to me, but I think there is huge talent in Offaly.

“They are a very, very big team, physically powerful and they are very athletic too. There is hurling there nobody will fancy playing them.”

Now Kilkenny’s focus switches to a provincial semi-final collision with the victors of next weekend’s Dublin and Wexford Parnell Park replay and Cody thinks that will be beneficial for whoever prevails.

“As the year goes on the challenge becomes greater, we have the winners of Dublin and Wexford now and they will have an advantage with the extra game.”

Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Offaly’s Ollie Baker

Proud of an honest Offaly performance manager Ollie Baker was disappointed that the Faithful couldn’t build further on a blistering start.

Offaly struck two goals in the first 13 minutes and led by five points at one stage in the first half before being reeled in by the All Ireland champions’.

“We got a fantastic start and I felt that in the first 25 minutes we hurled with a great pace. Unfortunately we weren’t able to see it out and we are bitterly disappointed.

“We obviously came here looking to get a result. Nobody outside gave us a chance, but we felt we had a good chance ourselves because a quarter final is a good time to get them especially with the home draw.

The Offaly boss admitted that his team were keen to commence the contest quickly.

“In a couple of the games we played last year we were slow to start and we conceded a lot of goals. That provided for the opposition against us. The way Kilkenny play is they like to get a cushion and then sit back to hit you on the counter attack.

“We felt it was crucial that we got the upper hand in the game. Joe Bergin got a fantastic goal that gave us great momentum for the rest of the half, but we just weren’t able to keep it going at that pace. I have to have great pride in the lads.”

Eoin Larkin’s sharp free-taking punished Offaly fouls, but Baker reckoned that his players found it difficult on occasion to cope with the fast and furious manner the match was being played.

“That was the first game we played this year at that pace. Living at that pace is very hard, particularly where we are coming from and the low base we are coming from. I think we just got caught with the pace of it.

“To go in just a point up after hurling so well in the first half was a bit of a disappointment, but the lads showed great character. To get a goal with the last puck of the game is a testament to the fact that they never gave up.”

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