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cool cat 'There’s been a huge injection of players . . . It’s just getting those guys up to speed' - Kilkenny's Eoin Murphy

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Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy pictured in attendance at the launch of Avonmore Protein Milk at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy pictured in attendance at the launch of Avonmore Protein Milk at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy pictured in attendance at the launch of Avonmore Protein Milk at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Six seasons have now passed without Liam MacCarthy wintering in Kilkenny. A uncomfortable length of time for the Cats, a famine if you’ve been reared on a diet of Brian Cody-inspired glory.

Still, Eoin Murphy insists the future is bright for Kilkenny hurling. Back-to-back Leinster titles suggest there’s a level of consistency there even if they look off the blistering Limerick pace. And with some natural improvement, Kilkenny won’t be too far off in the seasons to come.

“I think there’s a huge amount of positives there,” said the Glenmore man. “Take myself and TJ (Reid) out of it in the All-Ireland semi-final and you’re going back to Pádraig Walsh, who’s 27, 28. The likes of Alan (Murphy), Billy Ryan, those guys, Tommy Walsh, Huw Lawlor – they’re all relatively young guys, 23, 24, and I know TJ is 33, 34 and I’m 31 so there is a bit of a gap there from us back down.

“There’s been a huge injection of players in the last three years. It’s just getting those guys up to speed and laying down that there are better standards – we’re not just about winning Leinster titles. You do want to the giving the All-Ireland series a fair crack. We haven’t won an All-Ireland since 2015 and we’re not happy about that.

“It’s about constantly looking at something that you’re going to bring, something different – your tactics or changing up your puck-out plan. That’s up to the management team to identify what we need to do. There’s some testing on strength and conditioning in the next couple of months.

“There’s a few lads called in and we’ll just get training in January again. There’s a huge number of younger hurlers who are very good. Look at Eoin Cody and Adrian Mullen. They have won it all at underage, schools, club. They know how to win games. It’s just a matter of keeping them going.”

To the forefront of Murphy’s mind just now is Glenmore’s glorious return to the senior ranks. Murphy is recognised as one of the best goalkeepers in hurling but he operates at centre-back for his club. And when they claimed the Kilkenny IHC title, Murphy described the win as the best day of his life.

“Our family is steeped in it, but no different to the Aylwards as well that includes Ger and Marky. Then you have Eoin Aylward, his father Neddy, I think there are four players on the team where he didn’t have an involvement coaching them underage. It is a small club. You’re relying mostly on the same lads to do the coaching, helping out. There was a huge amount of emotion afterwards.”

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