Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, is looking for victory
Kilkenny teams will be playing for huge stakes in major games this weekend.
The Kilkenny senior hurlers will be bidding for a place in the National League quarter-finals when they face Dublin on Sunday.
Twenty-four hours earlier in Thurles (4pm), mighty St Kieran’s College will attempt to hit about the only milestone they never touched in schools hurling when they face Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore in the All-Ireland colleges senior final.
Kieran’s are chasing what would be a wonderful four in-a-row of Croke Cup wins.
They achieved the three in-a-row twice (1988/90 and 2014/16) on their way to a table topping 21 successes, and this is their second shot at the four.
Failed in bid
They failed in the bid in 1991 when beaten in the final by St Flannan’s (Ennis).
Ironically, the only time the four in-a-row was achieved was in 1944, 1945, 1946 and 1947 when St Flannan’s produced a glory run.
“From early in the year Templemore were put out as favourites to win the Harty Cup and the All-Ireland,” explained St Kieran’s team official, Tom Hogan.
“They have a number of players who featured in last year’s Tipperary minor team, so they have a lot more experience than us. But you never know.
“Work-rate and ambition add a lot to the equation too. We’re looking forward to the challenge,” he added.
He explained that Kieran’s had a new team, and the current wearers of the colours want to make their own bit of history if they can.
“We’re in the final, so all we can do is to perform to the best of our ability,” Mr Hogan added.
Templemore CBS won the All-Ireland championship once, in 1978.
Our Lady’s, Templemore came into being in 1985 following the amalgamation between the CBS and the Sisters of Mercy Convent.
“It is going to be a huge challenge,” insisted Our Lady’s mentor Tom Byrnes. “We have a chance, and we will give it our best shot.
Wiped floor with us
“Belief has a lot to do in situations like this,” he added.
“We played St Kieran’s twice this year in challenge matches. They wiped the floor with us the week before we played the Harty Cup quarter-final.
“That result fairly grounded our lads for the rest of the season.”
In Parnell Park on Sunday (3pm), the options are simple for Kilkenny.
Win or draw and they move forward to the quarter-finals.
If Dublin win they will leap over the Cats in the table.
The battle then for Brian Cody’s men would be against relegation down to Division IB.
See also pages 92, 93 and 94.