Kilkenny went down fighting against Waterford in Thurles last night and Brian Cody was proud of team's effort.
The Cats have missed out on the All-Ireland final for only the fourth time in 19 years but Cody believes they answered their critics with a battling performance.
"I think they (the Kilkenny players) proved tonight how resilient they are, how competitive they are, how determined they are, and also how skilful they are. They showed an awful lot tonight," he told The Irish Independent.
"Our team has been questioned over the year by just about everybody really. That's their prerogative but our team tonight was as competitive as is humanly possible to be, and came within a whisker of winning the game.
"It went to extra-time, and they regrouped well. The momentum that they were able to rediscover, and there was some very good hurling, obviously.
"They were more consistent in their play over the 90 minutes than we were, but the resilience, spirit and determination we showed are the hallmarks of everything a team has to have."