“Kilkenny will still have a big say in this championship,” he insisted.
“To me they are the only team capable of beating Tipperary. On this occasion our display wasn’t good enough. We needed to take very opportunity we had.” - Colm Bonnar on Kilkenny.
KILKENNY are well capable of doing a Kerry on it and bouncing back like the great football team from the Kingdom to win further glory after missing out on the All-Ireland five in-a-row.
Kerry won the senior football championship in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 but just like Kilkenny in the hurling decider last year, their bid for five was halted in the final.
However, the men from the Kingdom bounced back to capture the Sam Maguire Cup in 1984, 1985 and 1986 and the Cats are capable of following a similar career path, Wexford hurling manager, Colm Bonnar, has suggested.
“Right now it would appear that the only team capable of beating Kilkenny would be Tipperary,” suggested the Wexford boss in the wake of a disappointing defeat in the Leinster semi-final on Saturday.
“The team that will beat them will be capable of going on and winning the All-Ireland,” he continued. “If they are not beaten, obviously they will win it themselves.
Kilkenny are good
“They could be like the great Kerry football team that missed out on the All-Ireland five in-a-row. They came back to win another couple of All-Irelands. That is how good Kilkenny are.”
The former Tipperary star admitted that Wexford were very disappointed at the manner of their defeat, but it was only right that the winners should be given due credit.
“Kilkenny will still have a big say in this championship,” he insisted. “To me they are the only team capable of beating Tipperary. On this occasion our display wasn’t good enough. We needed to take very opportunity we had.”
He recalled that Rory Jacob had two great chances of goals in the first half. Wexford needed to take those to have any chance.
“When you are the underdogs you need to put it up to the opposition, to create a doubt in their minds,” he said of the challenge faced by Wexford. “You need to give the home support, which was great for us, some reason to get behind you.
“We looked dangerous when we got the ball into the full-forward line in the first half. We should have taken more scores. That gave us some hope that if we could get the ball in during the second half that we could achieve something.
Lost too much ball
“We lost too many breaking ball in a round midfield. We couldn’t get any momentum going. Kilkenny then just powered through. As much as we tried we couldn’t break them down.”
He didn’t want to make excuses, but he felt the loss of centre-back, Darren Stamp before the game and then Ciaran Kenny 10 minutes or so later really hurt Wexford. That double loss tore the heart out of the defence.
“Things didn’t work out for us after that,” the manager felt.
However, he was sure there was a big kick left in Wexford and they could make their mark in the Qualifiers.
“We can get stronger,” Bonnar insisted. “We can play an awful lot better. I was disappointed the way the game just fizzled out. We had hope during the opening 10 minutes of the second half when we went point for points with Kilkenny.
“The crowd was just willing for something to hang on to, to cheer about. There are positives to be taken out of the game. We scored 1-15. We could have scored at least two more goals, and at the end Stephen Banville might have scored a third goal.
“We need to take every opportunity. If we had finished closer, maybe kept the difference to four or five points, it would have given us more confidence going into the Qualifiers. We have a lot of work to do.”
He didn’t try and hide the fact that Wexford were fiercely disappointed the way the game finished with Kilkenny strolling over the line.
Another beating - hard to take
“The players are at the end of a beating again from Kilkenny,” he reminded. “That is hard to accept. The statistics are that Wexford have won once in the last 14 years. That shows the strength of Kilkenny.
“I still think we have an awful lot more to give. There is more in this team. With the Qualifiers coming up we have the chance to advance a stage or two further in the championship. If we can do that that will give us hope going forward. We have to pick ourselves up.”
While he freely admitted it would have been a big ask of Wexford to win the game, losing by 11 points was more than they had bargain for.
“If we had taken our opportunities you wouldn’t know what way Kilkenny might react, bearing in mind what happened to them in the League final,” he continued. “At the end of the day they showed they are still a tremendous team. You can’t take anything from them. They are still full of ambition. They still have fierce drive.”