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Sunday 4 December 2016

Hogan knows why Dubs got better of Cats back in 2013

Kilkenny legend worried about the possibility of O'Moore Park repeat

Former Kilkenny hurler Brian Hogan can clearly recall Dublin’s famous win over his county in 2013. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Former Kilkenny hurler Brian Hogan can clearly recall Dublin’s famous win over his county in 2013. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Brian Hogan can clearly recall Kilkenny's 2013 loss to Dublin at O'moore Park. Not because of the rarity of the result, but the rarity of its origin.

"They outworked us. It's as simple as that," he told the Herald.

"They had a very clever game plan. They out-fought us."

That game plan involved Danny Sutcliffe lurking in his own half, providing a shaft of light in front of Dotsy O'Callaghan, who gleefully beat his man - Jackie Tyrrell - to those popped passes in that space in front.

But it was Dublin's fight, rather than their fight plan, that unhinged an already vulnerable Kilkenny, then shorn of some of their biggest players through injury.

"That's probably the most galling thing," Hogan agrees.

"If you're beaten by a piece of brilliance. Or you're beaten by being out-thought, that's one thing. But to be beaten by being outworked, that's a big no-no.

"I never saw the stats. But I'd guess they don't make pretty viewing from our point of view. Because every time a ball broke between the half-back and half-forward lines, they were all over it.

"Even from early in the first game, you got that sense that the Dublin lads really meant business."

That first game finished with a TJ Reid equalising free, a score that looked like it might spawn a million regrets for Dublin.

"We probably thought, having got out of Portlaoise with a draw, that there was element of 'right, we got out of jail here. We didn't hurl well but we'll sort it out the second day. It'll come right." Hogan recalls.

"But from early the second day, they were just in our faces. That day, I think they probably just had enough. They probably said 'come hell or high water, we're not leaving Portlaoise being beaten.'

"We just couldn't match that."

Liam Rushe was central to it all and Hogan, a former number six himself, says the Dublin captain "has consistently been one of the top two or three centre-backs in the country.

"He will have a huge say," this Sunday when the teams meet in Portlaoise again.

"Whatever Kilkenny decide to do. I'm sure they'll try and pull him out of there and move him around a bit. But he's a serious operator. We would have huge respect for him."

And once again, there's a small suspicion that without Richie Hogan and Michael Fennelly, Kilkenny might be more vulnerable at this stage of year than is usual.

"That's the concern," Hogan confirms. "Or the bit of fear in Kilkenny. 'Are we a little bit light?'

"I think you'd have to say we are. Even just in terms of experience.

"The biggest loss is going to be Richie. Between him and TJ, they've been doing most of the scoring and you take one away and that's half of that threat gone.

"Look, it just means that the other guys will be marked a bit tighter. The likes of Colin and Walter who have done it before and can do it again. But I'm sure Dublin will be happy not to see Richie togging out.

"It's a huge opportunity for Dublin for that reason. They'll be thinking to themselves 'look, this is a great chance to take Kilkenny.'

"We always sensed with Dublin that there was no fear there. We might have beaten them well a few times but with other teams, you felt that if you got a run on them, they would start to shrink.

"But Dublin, after a couple of years playing against us, there wasn't that fear. There was no inferiority. They liked to have a cut off us."

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