FORMER Kilkenny All-Ireland winning captain, Jackie Tyrrell, faces weeks on the sideline after injuring an ankle is Sunday’s thrilling win over Dublin in Nowlan Park.
The James Stephens defender landed heavily on the ankle with only seconds of the match remaining, and he had to be helped from the field.
Tyrrell was on crutches after the match and at the James Stephens 125 year celebrations that night in Hotel Kilkenny. The swelling in the ankle area was bad, and team personnel feared the injury could be serious.
Later it was confirmed that there was no bone damage, but the ligaments had been sprained. The player will be sidelined for a few weeks, but there are hopes that he might be able to return before Kilkenny finish in the League.
Tyrrell will definitely miss Sunday’s big clash with Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, and also the home game against Galway on March 31.
Sunday’s clash is an important one for the All-Ireland champions, who can slip through to the League semi-finals if they register their fourth consecutive victory.
“That is a huge game again,” said Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody of the visit to the Leeside. “Cork are on a good run. They have put good performances together. It is another game we are looking forward to very much. We will travel looking for a victory.”
Mr Cody said he was happy Kilkenny came out on the right side of things against Dublin on Sunday, but he was less than happy with certain aspects of the performance, exciting and all as the win was.
“At the end of the day if you win the match, you win the match,” he opened. “Obviously we don’t want to be conceding six goals. We don’t want to be conceding any goals, but that was the way the match went.
“Again we kept at it, and full credit to the players, they never gave up. We got a goal and they came back and hit us for a goal straight away a couple of times. It was a crazy game in lots of ways, but it was a helluva battle to the end.”
Dublin were reduced to 14 men for most of the second half, but still they gave as good as they got and with seven minutes remaining they were in front.
“I am so aware of the quality in Dublin,” Mr Cody continued. “It is serious. They are assembling a panel of players who are outstanding. We were very lucky to get anything out of the game, but we are happy to have won.
“Dublin were excellent. Every aspect of their play was excellent. Some of the goals they created through support play and linking up with each other way was top class. Right throughout the field they were excellent.”
Kilkenny’s dogged resistance pleased him no end.
“The fight was great from the players,” he felt. “We drove forward and drove forward at the finish. A fair amount of players stood up to the battle in the end and refused to give in. That was the key to it more than anything.
“There are things we couldn’t be happy about. The battling attitude was intact. When we appeared to be on our knees, three or four players came to the fore at different stages and dragged others lads with them. As long as a team has that you have a lot.
“I expected a huge battle. I am happy we won. Every match is very competitive. There are two more matches coming up. The conditions for hurling are terrific. It is a good kind of match to be getting at this time of the year.”
His overall summary on the home team performance that was littered with errors was: “It is not a question of individual fault. You defend all over the field. At several stages of the game we probably were not doing enough of that. We got outstanding service from our backs in the past. We will again, for certain.”
However, he admitted that Kilkenny had “plenty to look at” after the game. The concession of six goals was one obvious matter to be addressed.
“The opposition were very strong in every aspect of the game,” he said in an over view of the match. “We have very little hurling done. That is not an excuse. The bright evening will be coming shortly. We would be hoping to pick things up.
“We wouldn’t be happy to concede that many scores. But if we went out and scored five goals every day we played we would be very happy. It is a question of balance. We have three games down and three games won. The results are very positive.”
The James Stephens clubman said he was delighted with the phenomenal spirit shown by the team.
“I am absolutely thrilled with that, and the refusal to lie down,” he continued. “We didn’t lie down and let the game go. We got serious scores to win the match.
“The challenge is there every day you go out. This year is all about this year. Performances from other years and matches are irrelevant. We are taking on this League, now.”
P W D L. Pts
Kilkenny 3 3 0 0 6
Galway 3 2 0 1 4
Cork 3 2 0 1 4
Tipperary 3 2 0 1 4
Dublin 3 0 0 3 0
Waterford 3 0 0 3 0