He was in for the dinner, having spread numerous tons of fertiliser, and former Kileknny star defender, Pat Dwyer was more anxious for the nosebag that talking to chancers.
One of the great full-backs for Kilkenny and Carrickshock, he had his name noted but once in his career in a local league game with his club. One statistician worked out that he played for 18 months as Kilkenny’s full-back and never conceded a single free. Where do guys find time to unearth such information?
Did you enjoy the game Pat, or was it too tense for you to enjoy?
“In the first half Galway were undoubtedly in control, and we were shocking lucky that they conceded the three easy frees which gave us more than a fighting chance at half-time. The game was so absorbing with Kilkenny taking control in the second half that I didn’t feel the tension, which only became very apparent in the final few minutes”.
Some would say that it was a game between two marquee forwards?
“It was a shoot-out between the two lads. Henry (Shefflin) came home with 0-12, while Joe (Canning) shot 1-9. The only difference being that Joe got slightly more from play.”
Given that not too many forwards on either team troubled the scorekeeper too often, was it indicative of the kind of defending, or more succinctly, the quality of defending by both sets of defenders?
“Being a former defender, I would be particularly attentive to the quality of defence mounted by both sides. The Galway defenders were excellent, but our lads, in particular young Murphy, J.J. and Brian Hogan in the second half were terrific. You might say the free-count was somewhat high, but in the hot atmosphere of an All-Ireland final, you could expect that.”
“Overall it was a good balanced job. Both sides are good hurlers, and the game didn’t have one semblance of rancour, nor did either side cause an issue for the referee. In that regard it was easy enough to call it. He was under a lot of pressure coming into the game, but he did well.”
Even though the great Carrickshock man admitted that the game has changed since his time, with one-on-one marking and zonal marking, we asked if he would like to have been out there on the beautiful Croke Park pitch?
With a whimsical flash he informed: “No way! The game has gone far too fast for the likes of me. I was never a speed merchant, and the intensity is so demanding that it would pass me by for certain.”
And prospects in the replay?
“The final is still there for both sides to win or lose. Both sets of forwards will feel that they have room to improve. The All-Ireland fears will be gone out of the system for the Galway lads, and that will help them.
“Our experience over the years can be the factor that will just get us home in front. It will still be tight, but I feel that we are still the best team in the land and we will shade it at the end”.