Kilkenny have been the biggest winners in a number of ways in the Allianz National Hurling League over the past decade or so.
Apart from winning the title seven times since the turn of the Millennium, the Cats have enjoyed huge financial returns from the competition.
Over the last five years alone Kilkenny grossed over €500,000 from the competition. Doing well in the League is directly related to the financial spin-off each county enjoys, and in that regard Kilkenny’s consistency has been handsomely rewarded.
When they won the competition in 2012 and 2013 the county’s share of the pool was €126,932 and €129,948 respectively. The county budgets for an income of around €50,000 per annum from the League, so when they do as well as they have over the past five years, it takes a bit of the pressure off the finances of the County Board.
Informed sources in Clare tell me people are really looking forward to seeing Kilkenny forming the usual guard of honour accorded to the All-Ireland champions to welcome them back into action at the start of the new season. Clare have earned the right and respect, and no better bunch than the Cats to do their duty.