Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Kilkenny reaching out four greatness

Twelve months ago Kilkenny became the first team to win hurling’s elusive three-in-a-row since the celebrated Cork side of 1976-78.

Now they are within touching distance of emulating another band of Leeside legends, the four-in-a-row side of Christy Ring, Jack Lynch and colleagues, who monopolised the Liam McCarthy Cup between 1941 and 1944.

Everyone it seems is preparing to acknowledge them as the greatest team of all time.

But such comparisons can be dangerous and even in Kilkenny it’s argued that such talk is at best tempting fate.

And yet if the Cats can cut Tipp down to size tomorrow afternoon, they will surely go down as the greatest ever.

Cork’s Jimmy Barry Murphy will always be remembered as an outstanding dual player, but he also starred in Cork hurlers’ three in a row — 1976, ‘77 and ‘78.

For good measure he also managed Cork’s All Ireland winning outfit of 1999, when Brian

Cody was for once managing a losing Kilkenny side.

Mind you he has more than compensated, such is the Cats’ domination in recent seasons.

When it comes to passing judgement on the current Kilkenny side he is unequivocal in his assessment.

“They are the best hurling side I’ve ever seen. They have such a strong panel and, on different days, different players step up to the mark.

“From a coaching perspective it’s the ideal scenario for manager Brian Cody in that any one of seven or eight players can come up and do a job,” he said.

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