THE Kilkenny players who helped the county to All-Ireland success during the past decade and more have every right to share in and feel a part of the glory attained on Sunday.
The men from the past helped set the standards expected of those involved in the county squad, and the stars of today maintain or build on those star qualities, selector Martin Fogarty has suggested.
“It is all down to the players, the graft and work they put in,” said the Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) clubman following the county’s 34th MacCarthy Cup success.
“The start we got was good, but Galway hit us hard when they scored two goals. That would have hurt a lot of teams badly, but straight away we hit back and got a goal.
Must get credit
“It is all credit to the whole panel, the 31 players. The guys who have gone before must be given credit too, because they left behind a set of values, a way and style of playing that has been carried on.”
Players coming into the Kilkenny panel now know the story, what was expected of them, he felt.
“If you are prepared to work hard you can be part of something very special in the Kilkenny camp,” Fogarty suggested. “The spirit that has been built up over the years and passed down from players to player proved itself again today.
“It was not an easy game to win. The roar when Galway scored the first goal was unreal. I haven’t heard the like of it since Tipperary in the fifties.
“To respond to that the way we did was tremendous.”
He made nothing of the selectors decision to introduce two young players, Walter Walsh and Cillian Buckley, for the replay.
“Any of the lads must be ready and capable of slot in at any time,” he explained. “I am not saying you can put out a brand new 15 at any time, but any of them are capable of slotting in and doing a job on a given day.
Took on challenge
“You need most of you players on song to win. When you get them on song, or about 13 of them, you put yourself in a position to win. That is what we did.
“Fair play to the two lads who came in, they took on a big, big challenge and won.”
And he suggested the hunger for glory was far from satisfied in Kilkenny.
“Hurling is the game these players want to play,” he continued. “They enjoy hurling. They want to win. When they lose they are disappointed. They are doing what they enjoy and they keep going back and working harder to try and improve their game.
“They won’t ever go too far wrong as far as that attitude continues.”