Kilkenny begin their 2023 season this weekend.
The All-Ireland champions travel to Ennis on Sunday to take on Clare in the first round of the Very Camogie League Division 1A.
The Cats will be hoping to successfully defend their All-Ireland title this year having claimed a famous victory over Cork in last year’s decider to lift the O’Duffy Cup for the second time in three years.
The 2020 and 2022 wins were spearheaded by former Kilkenny hurler Brian Dowling who was appointed manager a little over three years ago after the departure of Ann Downey.
The O’Loughlin Gaels clubman’s rise to the top job in the county draws parallels with that of new Kilkenny senior hurling manager Derek Lyng.
Both men were part of backroom teams with the county before being appointed to their current jobs and speaking to KCLR’s Scoreline, Dowling was in no doubt that the Emeralds man was the “obvious choice” to replace Brian Cody.
“Derek has done his time with Brian Cody as a selector and he has obviously played the game at the highest level as well. You then add in the fact that he was manager with the U20 side, and you would have to say that he has done his apprenticeship,” Dowling said.
“He is definitely the right man. It seemed like it was between himself and Henry Shefflin but Henry is with Galway, so he was the last man standing and the obvious choice at that stage.”
While the two-time All-Ireland winning manager did acknowledge that the performance in last weekend’s defeat at home to Tipperary was not of the required standard, Dowling believes that time is key if Kilkenny are to end their eight-year wait to be crowned All-Ireland champions.
Dowling said: “He won’t be happy with the performance and the result against Tipperary but he’s trying out new players and a new style of play, so he won’t be overly concerned either.
“The hurling league is a little bit different to camogie because the league final is so close to the championship it’s hard to know how seriously teams are taking it.
“He’s giving lads opportunities to play and once the Ballyhale Shamrocks lads come back into the frame they’ll be a different team again.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to find players and find his team and people are just going to have to be a little bit patient and give the lads time because they had a great year last year and hopefully, they can go one step further this year.”
You can hear the full interview with the Kilkenny camogie manager from 4pm on KCLR this Saturday.