Kilkenny were bitterly disappointed but they are determined to pick themselves up and simply get on with life in the National Hurling League.
“It won’t be easy, but it was never going to be,” insisted manager, Brian Cody, after the first defeat in 51 years against Dublin in Nowlan Park.
On Sunday week the Cats, the League and All-Ireland champions, travel to Pearse Stadium, Salthill to play Galway, which has never been a comfortable hunting ground.
Farrell and Lyng out
With the forces already stretched because of retirements and club commitments, they were weakened further by the red carding of Jonjo Farrell and Joe Lyng, who will miss the Galway match as a result.
Cody felt the loss of two more players from the squad would make life extremely difficult. Jonjo Farrell, he insisted, was going very well at full-forward and was causing Dublin problems.
“He certainly was a big loss,” he added. “We are down the two lads now unless something else happens.”
Following on the heels of the stirring performance against Cork the previous week, Cody’s summary of Sunday’s effort was: “There was no way we expected to turn up and win. I expected a huge challenge from Dublin, who are going well. The result is disappointing.
“To end up with 13 players is very disappointing. To finish with 14 would be disappointing; 13 is mad. That is not Kilkenny. It has happened now and we will just have to get on with things.”
He felt Dublin were strong overall. They got into the game early and took control and that put the home team under pressure.
“Galway will be a tough assignment,” the boss continued. “It is just a question of taking each match as it comes.”
When asked about the two Kilkenny red cards, he was slow and deliberate with his replay when he offered: “I will let you decide on that lads. I won’t talk about referees, as you know.
“It had a huge bearing on the game. All I known is that there was no one hurt. I don’t know why he (Farrell) was sent off.
“I don’t know why he was sent off,” he repeated.
Cody felt that when Kilkenny failed to make headway during the 10 minutes after the break when backed by the wind that they were in real trouble.
“We made no impact after half time,” he offered. “We had the wind behind us at that stage. Fourteen play 15 very often. We made no impression at that stage, which was an import phase of the game.
“If we had started the second half as we finished the second half it would have been important, but we didn’t. Dublin used the extra man well. They supported each other well, but that is what you would expect.”
Mr Cody said he didn’t think Kilkenny would have any other players available for the next match.
Richie Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks) was a late addition to Sunday’s panel, as was John Power (Carrickshock).
Dublin manager, Ger Cunningham, was delighted with the result which left his charges on top of the table with two wins from two games.
“We are very happy to come here and give a performance,” he said. “It is a challenging place at the best of times, the home of the All-Ireland champions. Nowlan Park is a tough place to play.
“We are delighted with the performance. We scored 25 points, which is a good score. That is encouraging.
Not at full strength
“You have to take into consideration that Kilkenny weren’t at full strength with the loss of star names through retirements and the Ballyhale Shamrocks crew as well.
“You can only play what is in front of you,” he continued. “For us the outcome is very encouraging. We took on some of the stuff we learned last week against Tipperary.
“I am very happy with the victory. It doesn’t happen too often. We started very well and we were comfortable tacking on the points. We kept the scoreboard ticking over.
“The Kilkenny goal came about after a brilliant block down. We should probably have cleared our lines in that situation. I didn’t see the Farrell incident. That does impact on a game, playing with 14 men.
“Sometimes a team can rally and get a few scores. I think we killed the game early in the second half with some very good scores. Again it shows why Kilkenny are All-Ireland champions. They didn’t give up the fight.
“In the third quarter we played well. Kilkenny’s late goals put it up to us at the end. Whether the lads dropped their intensity when they went down to 13 men or whatever, maybe, but you always expect a fight back from Kilkenny.
“This is two more points for us in the League. Kilkenny weren’t at full strength. They were missing a couple of serious players.
“If you are going to play Kilkenny, it probably wasn’t a bad time,” he concluded.