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Tommy Walsh Is Very Confident About Kilkenny's Prospects This Year

Tommy Walsh Is Very Confident About Kilkenny's Prospects This Year
By Damian Lawlor

Hurling legend Tommy Walsh is hopeful that Kilkenny’s blend of youth and experience will stand to them in the new-look 2018 Leinster Championship.

Kilkenny take on Offaly at Nowlan Park on May 20 and, seven days later, they face Galway in Pearse Stadium. Another crucial juncture in their calendar is the game against Wexford in Nowlan Park on June 9.

But following their impressive, energetic, and workmanlike displays in the NHL, Walsh feels the team can now build further over the summer.

Some of the lads have won underage competitions like the minor All Ireland and they got to the Under 21 final last year added to the fellas that have All Ireland medals already.

You have guys with great ability, who have been winners. I think the biggest thing for our guys this year was to develop confidence. That is why after the first two games, they were playing well, but getting beaten.

You were getting worried that maybe the public opinion might get them down, but they kept going.

Now they are after getting a few wins and confidence is high again. I think Kilkenny will be very dangerous in the Championship because they have the players. Now they will be coming in with confidence.

With the new Championship format just over a week away from starting, Walsh says it is an intriguing time for hurling.

It is, I think the fact that inter-county players are putting so much into it now. They are back training probably since last October or November and nobody now takes any game lightly.

The versatile Tullaroan man won nine All-Ireland titles, nine Leinster titles and the same amount of All Stars during his 12 incredible years at senior level with the Cats as he clocked up 54 championship appearances

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He is also one of the ambassadors for this year’s Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge (All-Ireland Under-17 series).

The national group stages of that competition began yesterday and features 41 teams, 1,250 players and 135 games.

This is great for lads at that age to get quality games, it’s run off in a compact format and gives lads exposure to a high level.

Lads get a chance to find their feet and regular games will help them achieve that. For anyone who hasn’t made a county minor team the Celtic Challenge keeps them hurling at a good level, keeps them in the shop window, and that’s a good thing.

Walsh, unsurprisingly, is full of excitement for the season ahead. He has already carved out a reputation as one of the most passionate and enthusiastic analysts out there.

He has no interest in criticising former colleagues and opponents for the sake of it and prefers instead to focus on the analysis, meaning and emotion of the game.

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Players will be out there reading up on other sports and that, the top teams and top coaches from around the world, trying to get every inch they can. It is all about winning every game now. It is all about being the best, you hear that through various players and managers.

You will have nobody holding back and when the upcoming games are played in home and away venues they are often smaller grounds and the atmosphere builds that little bit more.

I think down in Wexford Park, especially with the following Wexford will bring, it will be epic to watch.

SEE ALSO: Waterford Hurler Opts Out Of Championship Panel To Spend Summer Travelling

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