Eddie Brennan has insisted that there is no crisis in Kilkenny hurling after a disappointing year for the Cats.
After Brian Cody’s senior side were knocked out of the championship by Waterford in the qualifiers, Brennan’s u-21 side were beaten by Limerick in Saturday’s All-Ireland final in Thurles.
The Shannonsiders’ 0-17 to 0-11 success was their second title at the grade in three years. For Kilkenny, they haven’t won an u-21 title since 2008 and, with some of the players who dominated for the last decade all beginning to retire, there is a fear that the Cats will fall back to the chasing pack.
This is a sentiment that Brennan disagrees with, however.
“I don’t see it as being the big catastrophe and the big shock that everyone makes it out to be. You’re at the top for a prolonged period of time, all you’re doing is going back to the rest.
“It’s about putting the head down and going again.”
Brennan won eight All-Ireland titles under Cody in a team that are widely regarded as the best ever.
“It’s probably because of the level the Kilkenny seniors have set over the last ten or 12 years and I’m conscious of saying that in a team that I played in.
“Every team was chasing you down for years and years.
“Now it’s just a case of a lot of teams levelling off, being around the one level.”
Galway won the National League, Leinster and All-Ireland titles in 2017, but Brennan doesn’t see Kilkenny-like dominance coming from the Tribesmen.
“I don’t think Galway are that far ahead of everyone else either. They were the team to beat this year.
“They were strong — very, very good all year around.
“But a lot of people probably felt Waterford didn’t play to their potential in the final – and yet they were right in the mix.”
Despite losing Saturday’s All-Ireland final in Thurles, the Cats legend feels the future is bright for the Marble County.
“A lot of the guys out there who played for me today and they are good enough.
“They may not have shown it against Limerick but it’s character building, it’s a test of their resilience, a test of what’s between their ears and what do they want.”
Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena