Saturday 16 December 2017

Cats a different challenge from last year

FOUR of Kilkenny's back six will likely be the same this Sunday in Croke Park as they were in Portlaoise last summer.

Eoin Murphy's expected absence and David Herity's expected selection means the latter is yet another survivor of the first Kilkenny team to lose to Dublin in a senior championship match for the first time in 71 years.

Midfield is all change. TJ Reid and Richie Hogan are their star turns. Tommy Walsh now plays as a deep-lying half-forward, alongside his brother Pádraig.

So they're definitely different. But are they any better?

"Look, they were grand last year up to our game," Anthony Daly recalls.

"Then we caught them on the hop, everyone said, and we beat them in a replay and then they came out and beat Tipp, who were supposed to be the pretenders to the crown.


"Then they beat Waterford and they went down absolutely fighting against Cork so I was impressed with them in both games."

Daly was in Tullamore both last Saturday and the Sunday before and his more analytical eye has a reverse opinion of the merits of the two games.

"I thought last Saturday night was a better game over all. I think people were carried away but I thought it was a better contest all through.

"And I thought they were that bit better in too many positions for Galway. Galway were good now as well. It's very hard to know."

That Kilkenny have played twice since Dublin last had a match is irrelevant.

"It is what it is," Daly says.

"Nearly everyone in GAA will tell you the three-week break is probably the ideal, that you recover a little, build it up again hard the following week.

"So maybe that will be the case, maybe it won't.

"Maybe our fellas will hit the ground running and Kilkenny will be tired. I don't know.

"I think every game takes on a life of its own and it's hard to predict how that will affect lads."

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