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Galway were at a superior level - Cody

AFTER the earthquake, the seismic repercussions. Kilkenny now find themselves taking a shock detour via the road less travelled, the scenic route of an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Only once before during Brian Cody's epic reign - in 2004 - have Kilkenny been forced away from the 'comfort zone' of a front door All-Ireland semi-final. Now the champions find themselves back in that rarest of places - down but not quite out, and forced to play a knockout match in late July.

"We're still there and obviously the anticipation for ourselves is going to be lessened, presumably fairly dramatically, because today Galway showed themselves to be at a superior level right now," Cody admitted.

"Galway would always be on my list of potential All-Ireland winners and right now they've shown exactly the capabilities they have," he added.

"Look, the All-Ireland championship is wide open. We're thankfully still there and we'll see where it goes."

What yesterday revealed was that even hurling immortals possess feet of clay.

Has Tommy Walsh endured a more torrid 35 minutes? Has Brian Hogan been so badly exposed by fleet-footed rivals running straight through his corridor? Has Eoin Larkin ever been so anonymous on his Croke Park stomping ground?

Walsh's first-half trauma was encapsulated by two sideline ball cameos shortly before the break. First he directed a crossfield ball straight to Joe Canning (who duly pointed from midfield) and then we witnessed the unthinkable -- a fresh air from his next sideline cut.

Mind you, the malaise was everywhere. "They sort of took control of the game and didn't allow us into it, but that's something we've done to other teams in the past as well," Cody mused.

"Our response wasn't good enough in the first half, for sure."

Asked if the widespread expectation of another routine Kilkenny victory had proved a problem, the manager replied: "We don't deal in excuses ... if you were to use the fact that everyone else thinks you're going to win the game, it's a very poor excuse to have. It's won and lost on the field."

The only consolation for Kilkenny is that they 'won' the second half, and Cody spied some hope in this.

"We expect genuineness from them all the time and we got it today as well," he maintained.

"We put in a big effort in the second half, you know; we didn't lie down or accept it."

Don't be surprised if someone pays for this...