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Sunday 25 September 2016

'We'd be hungry as hell to beat Galway'

Teams raise their game when they play us: Reid

Kilkenny hurler TJ Reid at the launch of Herbalife’s nutrition and sports performance partnership with TJ Reid as well as Shamrock Rovers football team. Picture credit: Sportsfile
Kilkenny hurler TJ Reid at the launch of Herbalife’s nutrition and sports performance partnership with TJ Reid as well as Shamrock Rovers football team. Picture credit: Sportsfile

Quite why Galway have had so much sporadic joy against Kilkenny through even these years of plenty, no-one is quite sure.

The 2005 All-Ireland semi-final and the 2012 Leinster final stand out a mile, not for the bare fact that Galway won, but that they hammered Kilkenny teams very much expected to wreak that exact style of destruction on the Tribesmen on those days.

"They can bring a total spirited group and when you bring that they're a very hard team to play against," notes TJ Reid.

"They're all big men too and all the forwards are well able to hurl.

"But their overall work rate as a team, they're physical and they're strong and they're well able to score too."

Slanted

The win/lose column is still very much slanted in Kilkenny's favour, but there is a wariness about Galway in Kilkenny.

That they deprived last year's Galway side of an All-Ireland is, according to Reid, all the more reason to be dutiful in preparation,

"If it was ourselves after losing to Galway last year and we facing them now in the Leinster final, we'd be motivated, we'd be as hungry as hell to go out and beat them," he reckoned,

"So in that Galway dressing-room, I'm fully aware of how motivated they are to beat us in the Leinster final.

Which isn't to say that Reid expects anything else from anyone else.

"Every team we play are hungry, they're driven to beat us," he notes.

"They're rising their game an extra 10, 20 per cent. So any day we're not right, we'll be beaten, the Leinster final 2012 maybe we weren't right and Galway blew us away.

"At half-time we tried to change things and get ourselves psyched up," the reigning Hurler of the Year recalls.

"But physically and mentally we weren't right for the game.

"You seen Clare this year in the league semi-final also this year, maybe our attitude wasn't fully right and Clare beat us off the field.

"Any day you go out with the wrong attitude or with the wrong thinking, thinking that we won't be beaten, that's the day you'll get caught.

"Our preparation is 100 per cent and our preparation is going well. So hopefully we can perform to our best on Sunday."

The performance against Dublin served as a reminder that judging Kilkenny pre-summer is a fool's errand.

Though at half-time, despite Kilkenny doing most of the heavy-lifting, Dublin were within grabbing distance and there existed a feeling in Portlaoise that a goal for Ger Cunningham's team could change the dynamic of the contest very quickly.

"Our team performance was very good," he says of that eventual 12-point victory.

"Lads who were very good against Dublin mightn't not be good against Galway, so everyone has something to work on.

"We were pleased against Dublin we hurled well."

"As a team, we're united to beat Galway in the Leinster final," Reid concludes.

"We don't want to be making things harder on ourselves going through the back door."

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