Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng has told KCLR that potentially stopping their opponents claim a fourth consecutive title will not be a motivating factor for his side ahead of this Sunday’s All-Ireland final.
After another condensed Championship season, Kilkenny and Limerick are the last two left standing again, this weekend providing an opportunity to run back the 2022 decider that saw Limerick make it three All-Ireland’s in a row with a 1-31 to 2-26 win over Kilkenny in what would turn out to be Brian Cody’s last game in charge.
When we caught up with Lyng at the recent Kilkenny GAA media day, the Emeralds’ man cut a relaxed figure. He’s been here before though having spent the best part of the last decade on the sidelines with the Kilkenny senior hurling team as part of Brian Cody’s backroom team before guiding the county’s U20s to All-Ireland success last year.
“The four in a row does not come into it for me at all. We’re not going for it, we’re going for it an All-Ireland final and making sure that we perform on the day and that’s the only thing”, says Lyng.
“We know how strong a team we’re playing [in Limerick] but at the same time you know we’re strong ourselves. It’s about kind of focusing on ourselves, making sure that you know we remind ourselves of that and make sure that we put our best foot forward on Sunday and go at the game.”
“The attitude from our players (this year), I couldn’t ask for anything more to be honest. We’ll need that again the next day from everybody involved, but I think everybody involved is looking forward to that challenge and that’s what it’s all about.”
“I think we’ve been improving all year and we’re going to need significant improvement again on the last day but we’re more than capable of doing that. That’s the task ahead now. But, as I said before, it’s something to be attacked rather than feared and we’re all looking forward to it.
As for his first season with Kilkenny? There’s no hiding a smile growing from the corner of Lyng’s mouth when asked.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise to be honest. I’ve been involved for a couple of years as a selector and under 20s – so far so good. The reality of it is, all the time you’re looking towards your next game. The time for reflection will be (after the final) rather than now but I’m hugely enjoying it.”
As the clock ticks down to All-Ireland Sunday, join us live in Matt The Millers this Friday night for a special two-hour preview show between 8-10pm. We’ll also be live at O’Loughlin Gaels GAA club in Kilkenny City from 10am-12pm on Saturday for a special “Black & Amber Breakfast” with Edward Hayden and plenty of famous faces, before we make our way to the Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin city centre on Sunday morning from 11am.
We’ll be crossing live to Croke Park from 3pm on Sunday afternoon to bring you all the buildup from inside the ground as the top two teams in the country renew rivalries for the third time in 12 months.