Cats want new ground with League hat trick

Records have tumbled in record time with Kilkenny in recent years, and the Cats will be hoping to reach another new milestone in the National Hurling League final on Sunday.

Records have tumbled in record time with Kilkenny in recent years, and the Cats will be hoping to reach another new milestone in the National Hurling League final on Sunday.

Brian Cody’s reshaped team will be chasing the county’s first three in-a-row in the League in the decider in Thurles against Tipperary.

The last time the county appeared in three consecutive finals was in 1975/76, 1976/77 and 1977/78 when the League started late one year and ran into the following one. However, after beating Clare in the first decider after a replay, the Cats lost the two following finals against the same opposition.

Tipperary were the last county to achieve the treble (1959, 1960 and 1961) so Eamonn O’Shea’s squad will be determined to prevent Kilkenny emulating the Tipp men of a previous generation.

It is interesting to note that Limerick have enjoyed the best back-to-back run of wins in the League. They put five together in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938.

Tipperary are seeking their first League title win since 2008. They reached last year’s final but lost to Kilkenny in a great battle in Nowlan Park.

The Noresiders have already scored a win over Tipperary in this year’s Allianz League, winning by six points in Nowlan Park last month.

Sunday’s will be Kilkenny’s 10th appearance in the final since Brian Cody took over the reins in 1999. There have been seven victories.

Throw in 12 appearances in All-Ireland finals in the same period, which returned nine successes, and the county has enjoyed unprecedented success.

Yet the drive for hurling supremacy continues unabated. The selectors have tried 39 players during the League as they build a new team for the championship.

See League final preview pages 82 and 84 to 87.