Replay experience is no help

The fact Kilkenny were involved in an All-Ireland hurling final replay two years ago gives them no advantage against Tipperary.

The fact Kilkenny were involved in an All-Ireland hurling final replay two years ago gives them no advantage against Tipperary.

The counties produced a real blockbuster and ended level in the senior final in Croke Park on Sunday week, and it will be back to the same venue for the eagerly awaited replay on Saturday week.

“We have no advantage going into the replay,” insisted Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody. “This is a whole new game. It will take on a life of its own. Having gone through a replay before makes no difference.”

Two years ago the Cats were involved in a replayed final against Galway. After being pulled back to level pegging by a late, late point from a free by Joe Canning the first day, the Cats regrouped strongly and stormed to what was their 34th MacCarthy Cup success.

Cody didn’t see any connection between that experience in 2012 and the upcoming replay.

“No one knows how the game might go,” he insisted when speaking at the Kilkenny pre-final press night this week. “We won’t be reviewing what we did two years ago for this replay against Tipperary.

“All I know is that it is going to be another tough and close encounter. There has been nothing between Kilkenny and Tipperary in big matches in recent years.

“Even this year’s League final required extra-time before we got through for a hard earned win. Two hugely talented teams are preparing for a huge game. Once the ball is thrown in the game could go any way.

“What you do is prepare as best you can; give your all for the 70 minutes and hope that is enough to get you the result you want.”

All fit

The James Stephens clubman confirmed that everyone was fit and eager for the fray in the replay.

Richie Hogan and Eoin Larkin were nursing knocks after the drawn tie, but both were with the squad the following evening in Nowlan Park for a light training session.

They have resumed hurling since, as has Brian Hogan, whose involvement in training was curtailed prior to the draw.

Mr Cody was asked about the possibility of Henry Shefflin playing the next day. The Ballyhale Shamrocks attacker is chasing a record 10th winners medal.

He said nothing had been decided about the team. Shefflin was in the frame like all the other membes of the squad.

“Everyone was speculating about the team, but it will be picked, as usual, on what we see in training,” said the manager who has already guided the county to nine All-Ireland wins.

The team will be announced on Thursday night of next week.

Meanwhile, tickets for the replay will be distributed to clubs this week. Former players’ tickets can be collected at Nowlan Park on Thursday, Friday and Monday between 10am and 2pm. Stand tickets cost €50.