It wasn’t to be for Kilkenny on Sunday afternoon as they suffered a second consecutive All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick.
The game marked the end of the 2023 intercounty season with the Cats having to console themselves with a memorable Leinster title in between league final and All-Ireland final defeats to the Treaty County.
It is another season chalked off for some of Kilkenny’s long-serving squad members with speculation that it may be the last for many experienced players who have donned the famous jersey for over a decade.
Speaking as part of KCLR’s analysis team for the decider, eight-time All-Ireland winner Aidan Fogarty admitted that it may have been the end of their intercounty careers for some Kilkenny stalwarts.
He began: “Losing an All-Ireland is so devastating but losing two years in-a-row to the same team, they’d be absolutely devastated.
“There’s probably a couple of lads who are going to retire. I’m not going to retire them today, it’s not the place for it, but there’s lads coming off the bench who have given their lives to Kilkenny for the last ten or twelve years. They won’t want to be impact subs so I’d expect four or maybe even five retirements.”
Commenting on the 0-30 to 2-15 win for Limerick, the Emeralds clubman said: “It’s very disappointing from a Kilkenny perspective.
“We were the better team for 30 minutes and we were in a great position at half-time. Our boys went toe-to-toe with them but Limerick were able to take everything Kilkenny threw at them. They are a great team.
“I think Kilkenny panicked ever so slightly. They wanted the ball too much when they weren’t winning it. The half-back line of Limerick swept up the ball and got it into the full-forward line and you can’t defend it.”
Fogarty did opine that the Cats may have outperformed this season given the expectation levels ahead of the 2023 campaign.
“The reality is that at the start of the year we didn’t think Kilkenny would make an All-Ireland final. I’m very proud of Kilkenny today because they put it up to a truly great team and they did their best.
“Limerick’s big game players turned up when it mattered most and our lads gassed out. Limerick stepped up to the plate and turned up in the key moments.
“There’s no way their improved second half performances can be a tactic. They don’t start slowly on purpose. Kilkenny just died down and Limerick dominated.
“They’re able to soak up pressure because they’re so physically well-built. They have the mentality and they turn the screw. It’s hard to put your finger on what they do. Every team knows what’s going to happen but they still can’t stop it. They are phenomenal.”