Kilkenny should have little difficulty advancing to the National League Semi-Final on Sunday as they host an Offaly Team who are only a pale shadow of the glory years of both the 80s and 90s.
The Cats have been the form team throughout the League and after defeat in the opening round to Waterford, Kilkenny have bounced back with victories over Tipperary, Galway, a last gasp victory away to Cork before defeating Dublin in their final group game.
Despite losing Richie Power to retirement and Ger Aylward for the year to cruciate damage, Kilkenny’s panel appears stronger this year with the emergence and development of the younger players.
Robert Lennon, James Maher and Kevin Kelly have all impressed, and have proved to be worth place in the starting line-up, while Brian Cody’s son Diarmuid has featured regularly throughout the league also.
Unquestionably, Kilkenny will take all the beating again this year and with Michael Fennelly and Eoin Larkin still to return, their hand will be strengthened.
Brian Cody has he always does has the utmost respect for the opposition and in an interview ahead of Sunday’s game, he is expecting serious opposition from the Midlanders, and that it would be foolish to be dismissive of their prospects despite their difficulties over the past few years.
However on league evidence, there is little than anything else will transpire other than a comprehensive Kilkenny victory.
Offaly were well beaten by both Limerick and Clare, and just squeezed into the quarter-final despite losing by a point at home to Kerry in their final group game.
Offaly manager Eamonn Kelly would know the Kerry hurling scene inside out having won the Division 2A title the past two years, and got promoted last year to Division 1B by defeating Antrim in the promotion/relegation play-off decide.
At least Offaly have improved a little bit in 2016 as they were not involved in a relegation play-off this year unlike the past two years.
They can throw caution to the wind, and have a right cut at the Cats but ultimately, the outcome should prove to be one way traffic.
Throw-in on Sunday in Nowlan Park is at 3.45pm, while the other quarter-finals, sees Dublin play Limerick on Saturday evening in Parnell Park at 7pm, while on Sunday Clare host Tipperary in Cusack Park Ennis, Wexford host Waterford, while there is a critical Division 1A relegation decider between Galway and Cork in Pearse Stadium, Salthill.
All of Sunday’s games are at 3.45pm and KCLR has LIVE commentary of Kilkenny V Offaly with thanks to Country Style Foods, Grannagh, Kilmacow, Kilkenny. “As local as it gets”.
Hit play below to listen to our interview with Brian Cody.