Brian Cody felt the decision to send off Richie Hogan in the first half of Sunday’s All-Ireland final was the decisive factor in the match.
The Kilkenny manager also felt that had referee, James Owens been sure it was a red card offence then he would have made his decision a lot quicker.
Cody addressed the media following his side’s 3-25 to 0-20 defeat to Tipperary. The 11-time All-Ireland winning manager felt his side performed well in the first half but playing with one player less was a bridge too far for them in the end.
“Ah sure it was a decisive factor, there’s no doubt about that. The first half was obviously very, very even. Played really well I felt. Their goal was important from the point of view of the score at half-time. It brought them very, very close again.
“I thought our hurling was very, very good and the sending off was going to make it a huge ask obviously. The general opinion would be for us to take on 15 on 15 was going to be very, very difficult but to try and take them on with 14 players was… it was a bridge too far definitely and that’s how it turned out.”
Cody admitted that while he was close to the incident which seemingly saw Hogan make contact with Barrett’s head, he wasn’t sure what decision the referee was going to make.
After deliberating with his fellow officials, Owens decided to give Hogan his marching orders, however, Cody felt that had he been sure it was a red then the decision would have been made much sooner.
“Well there’s a lot of ye here, I wonder what ye all think? Because nobody seems to know. I was close to it. I was amazed. I’m the manager of the Kilkenny hurling team so I wasn’t wanting to be… I didn’t really know, I hadn’t a clue, to be honest.
“The only thing I will say is, first of all, we’re not going to be making excuses for not winning the game. We were beaten well in the final score but it’s a huge decision to make to issue a red card. You’d want to be very, very definite before you do a thing like that and certainly, it took the referee a long, long time to decide to make up his mind and say, ‘I wonder what that should be?’
“He consulted himself, he consulted his linesman, he consulted the player himself, went over to have a look at him, and I would say if he knew for certain what it was going to be he would have made his mind up straight away.”
Kilkenny led by five at one stage in the first half before Niall O’Meara’s goal followed by Hogan’s dismissal put Tipperary into the ascendency at half-time.
Liam Sheedy’s charges came out in the second half and blitzed Kilkenny with two quickfire goals through Séamus Callanan and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer. It effectively killed the game off as Kilkenny were never able to claw back the lead that Tipperary built up early in that second half.
Despite this, Cody was still full of praise for his players following a tough defeat in Croke Park.
“Definitely, there’s no doubt about that, it was a tough ask and that gave them the daylight and we kept it at that and we kept popping some scores and everything else.
“We needed a goal, which was going to be very, very difficult to get with an extra defender back there. But we defended magnificently. I thought some of our players were just outstanding against serious odds and that’s the way it went.
“Obviously there wouldn’t have been huge confidence outside our own dressing room in the team but the way they fought, the way they defended, the way they played I thought was excellent.”