KILKENNY were thrilled to win the Allianz National Hurling League final, but the Cats will be fishing for a bigger fish when the championship opens in a few weeks time.
“We are only looking at June 23 now,” was the message from powerful captain, Eoin Larkin, who led the attack brilliantly in the destructoion of Cork on Sunday. “As soon as that is over, if we get a win, we will look at the next match. You can never look beyond the next test in this game.
“Winning today makes no difference to Kilkenny in the championship. Today is over. It was a great day. It was great to win, but it is over now and we can only look forward.”
The James Stephens man, who has now raised the Walsh and League cups in triumph, said the performance and win over Cork were “very good”. The players were talking before the game that they wanted to put in a good performance.
“We had been up and down in the League,” the skipper felt. “We wanted to get a big performance and we did. We got a few early goals which gave us a bit of breathing space. We were more or less able to do what we liked with the game after that.”
The former Player of the Year said everyone involved in the panel drove each other on.
“If you are not driving each other you are lost,” Larkin suggested. “Even the young lads who came in were brilliant. We have five or six lads out injured, players who might be starting. The young players who came in were fantastic. To see them playing as well as they did was most encouraging.
“We don’t think about the players who are out injured because we can’t. Brian (Cody) is always saying that one man’s loss is another man’s gain. That is what happened with us. The lads were out injured. Young lads came in and did a job.
“These guys will drive on again, hopefully. As we keep saying, the inter-county careers are very short, some shorter than others. We have to knuckle down again. We are back to the clubs for two weeks and after that we will be back in for three or four weeks hard training for the Leinster semi-final.
On a high
“Today we are winners and everyone is on a high. Tomorrow is a another day which brings another challenge. The tomorrow in this sense is the start of the Leinster championship. We start again.
“There is nothing you can do about the past, but you change or shape the future. The aim is to explode again with another huge, huge effort on June 23. That is the aim.
“Things don’t always work out as you would hope, but the intention will be to take up where we left off today.
We want to win on June 23. Hopefully we can, but we will have to perform. You can’t look any further than June 23.
“If you are beaten there, you go into the Qualifier games and take the long way round in the championship. We don’t want that.”