IT WAS A testing day to make your inter-county comeback, but the smile on T.J. Reid’s face told you how he was feeling.
“It’s nice to be back playing for the county,” he said. “I missed all of the League campaign so it was great to be out there. It’s the right time of the year to be hurling, with the sun shining on your back.
“I’m happy enough at the way I got through my first game back with the county,” he added. “Obviously I would have preferred it if I hadn’t suffered the injury, but that’s life. I’ll just have to drive things on from here, but I have two more weeks to get myself right again.”
Fully recovered from the broken kneecap he suffered last September, Reid made his comeback in a big battle against one of Kilkenny’s traditional rivals.
“It was a tough game,” he reflected on the season’s opener. “Offaly gave us a really big test. We were losing by a point at half-time so we had to come out in the second half and give it 100%. They got four goals, so we have a lot to work on for the next day.”
Being the away team Kilkenny were fully prepared to step into the lion’s den on Sunday.
“We knew coming up to Tullamore to play on their turf that Offaly weren’t going to give us an easy ride,” said Reid. “They were going to hit us with everything hard, have three or four lads chasing you all the time - when a player does that to the opposition it can be hard to get away from him as there will always be another lad there to put the pressure on you.
“The first goal came from a ball off the post, which probably caught us out as we were a bit asleep,” he admitted. “In fairness to Offaly they hurled well. Their hunger really showed out there.”
While Kilkenny leaked two goals in the opening half they rallied and closed the gap to the minimum by half-time (2-6 to 0-11). It was all change in the second half, as the half-forward trio of Eoin Larkin, Richie Power and Reid grabbed the opening three points before Brian Hogan and Lester Ryan stretched the lead.
“We were a point down at half-time but I felt we didn’t really hurl in that first half,” he said. “We didn’t go at the game fully. In the second half we made a good start with those points. We decided to go out and keep tipping over points, in the belief that goals would come. We didn’t get any against Offaly, but we didn’t panic. We have two weeks now until the Leinster semi-final but we have a lot of work to do.”