Noel McGrath explains how Cats choked out the Tipp attack

Eamonn Lacey

Eamonn Lacey

One of the many motivating factors behind the emphatic Kilkenny victory in Croke Park on Sunday was the appearance of a “Croker Chokers’ newspaper headline that surfaced in the wake of a defeat in the National Hurling League final to Dublin.

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody outlined his disappointment at the newspaper headline following his team’s awesome performance in Croke Park on Sunday and said it was one of the things that drove on his squad to perform on the biggest day of them all.

On Sunday the only choking Kilkenny did was to choke the life out of Tippeary forwards preventing them from making an impact on the game from the throw in.

Tipperary centre forward Noel McGrath spoke after the game about the success of the Kilkenny defenders in ‘tightening up’ everything in front of their goal and the difficulties Tipperary forwards had in getting into the game.

“Their backs tightened things up very well and they did not give us any real chances. Pa (Bourke) took his goal very well but other than that they kept us out,” said McGrath.

It was the Loughmore man who eventually managed to get Tipperary’s first score on the board after nearly sixteen minutes had elapsed with a superb strike from midfield out on the sideline in front of the Hogan Stand.

It was a brilliantly taken score from the Tipp centre forward but by that stage Kilkenny had scored five points and had gained a firm grip on the game.

“We got back into the game and we were still with them at half time and even with ten to fifteen minutes into the second half we were there. The second Kilkenny goal killed the game for us,” he said.

He still believed Tipperary could get back into the game even as the game was entering the final stages.

“There was still only three or four points in it with five/six minutes to go. That is nothing in hurling and we were still in with a chance but that goal we needed did not come,” he said.

The young Tipp forward said that it was hard to take the second All-Ireland defeat in three years but that he expected everybody involved to be ready again for another go come January.