WHEN Kilkenny have just inflicted early-summer trial by annihilation, what the losing manager says invariably carries more interest that the post-match musings of the ever-inscrutable Brian Cody.
Liam Dunne (below) started with humour yesterday. "We were fierce unlucky, weren't we?" he began.
But he quickly accepted the serious questions raised by this surprisingly error-strewn performance.
The Wexford boss was asked if he hoped they could channel their anger into a winning qualifier riposte on July 4. "I hope so," he replied. "To be fair, there are hugely disappointed guys there who put in an unbelievable effort over the last number of months - in fact the last couple of years - to get a mauling like that.
"To be an actual player and having to go through that, there are two ways you can go. You can lie down and die now, or you can come back with a bit of fight, and hopefully our fellas will do that."
The losing boss then faced the inevitable questions about Jack Guiney, dropped from his panel for disciplinary reasons in the lead-up to this semi-final.
"Look, you want your best players all the time," he said. "The player in question has potential to be one of the best players in Ireland, let alone in Wexford.
"You have to treat everyone the same. You've 33 guys in a panel that are rowing the one way with you. Sometimes you have to make decisions and tough calls. I'm just hoping that the short-term pain with that player will be long-term gain with Wexford."
So then, was the door still ajar for Jack?
"Well, the door would be open for Martin Storey after that game," he quipped. "That's for another day. We'll take our beating, we got hurled out the door today, and we'll see what's left in us for the next day."
For Kilkenny, the next day out is a Leinster final against Galway on July 5.
"The last two matches that Galway have played, they have been outstanding and put up huge scores," Cody noted. "It has the makings of a very good game in two weeks' time and who knows what is going to happen."
The Kilkenny manager sounded confident that Colin Fennelly would be available, his late withdrawal here caused by a "tap" in training on Friday night. "He could have played, but we just decided not to risk him - the doctor said to rest him . He wasn't concussed or anything like that ... and Colin was bursting to play."
As for Ger Aylward, scoring 3-5 on his first SHC start translated into a "decent game" but Cody cautioned: "He has worked hard to put himself in contention and he is now in contention. It is up to himself now to drive things forward again."