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Dublin: 18°C Saturday 12 June 2021

'Our dressing-room is quiet in there' - Cody and Kilkenny relieved to escape Leinster opener with win

Kiklenny rallied to defeat Dublin with a dramatic injury-time goal in their Leinster SHC Round 1 clash.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

BRIAN CODY ADMITTED there was a stunned silence in his Kilkenny dressing-room after escaping to victory in the Leinster SHC at Dublin’s expense.

The National League champions trailed underdogs Dublin from the third minute until the 71st when Liam Blanchfield hit what proved to be match winning goal for the Cats.

In between, Kilkenny struggled to contain the power and industry of converted Dublin full-forward Liam Rushe who had a hand in all three goals and several more of the hosts’ points.

“He’s probably one of the most experienced players out there,” said 11-time All-Ireland winning manager Cody of Rushe.

“You can’t buy experience but he’s bought it several times. Of course he’s a very, very good player. It’s not a question of him causing us problems, it’s a question of how we deal with him and how we all work together for the sake of the team.

The reality is that he did (cause problems). And our dressing-room is quiet in there. It’s absolute relief, of course it is.

“It almost feels like, ‘Did we win it?’ Yes, we did win it. Am I happy? I’m delighted. Because of the fact that we’re walking away with two points.

“We could have been walking away with no points. Then there is real pressure on. There’s still pressure on, terrific pressure, and we go to play Offaly next Sunday and it’s going to be so similar to today and easily as difficult.”

Cody said he will assess the fitness of ex-Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan during the week though assured that his absence from the 26 yesterday wasn’t related to his long-term back trouble.

“Essentially his back was fine,” said Cody. “When you’re coming back from an injury and working so hard, you can easily pick up a niggle somewhere else and that’s really what happened to him. How he’ll be during the week we’ll have to wait and see.”

It remains to be seen if Conal Keaney will play any part for Dublin against Wexford in Round 2 on Sunday.

The veteran forward was taken off with 10 minutes to go with shoulder trouble.

“He thinks it’s just bruising of his collar bone, hopefully it’s not broken but it doesn’t seem to be swelling up too badly,” said Gilroy who claimed Keaney’s withdrawal was a turning point in proceedings.

Without him, Dublin were outscored 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing minutes.

“I think Conal going off very much disrupted us, we were kind of scrambling after that,” said Gilroy. “He was doing a lot of good work, himself and Liam were working very well up the middle and that did affect us in the last 10 minutes.

“There are a lot of things for us to look at in that period, and I think also in the first-half, we missed too many chances.

“We had a lot of dominance there and just didn’t take advantage of it. We should have been much further ahead. We fought very hard but at the end of the day, it was the score at the final whistle that counted. We have to finish out games better and that’s the lesson from this.”

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