DJ Carey insists Cody and Kilkenny can strike back
Kilkenny legend DJ Carey reckons that the team that knocks the Cats out of the Championship this summer will likely win the All-Ireland.
After seeing Brian Cody's side lose their opening two League matches, Carey (pictured) admits that they have made a disappointing start to the season but believes they will be in fine fettle come Championship time.
"I still think that the team that knocks Kilkenny out of the Championship will go very hard on an All-Ireland," he said.
Carey is confident Brian Cody will give their emerging stars time to bed in despite their slow start to the year.
And he has no doubt that they are good enough to keep the Cats competitive in 2017.
"There are super players coming through and they are players who you looked at (on Sunday) and they struggled.
"Evan Cody, Richie Leahy, Liam Blanchfield are three, and there are more who struggled but these guys are excellent players and ones we will be looking to in the future."
Carey has sympathy for the new blood given the relative lack of experience in the team.
"We are very lucky to have Brian Cody at the helm," he said. "It's not that he can perform extra miracles but if there was someone coming in new to manage to Kilkenny they'd be on a real hiding to nothing."
"The fact that we have a great man. . . there he will give the players - and I think he should - extra time to come good. Because it's happened in the past.
"In the past we could call on JJ Delaney, Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, Henry Shefflin, Noel Hickey and others and have eight or nine (established) guys playing in a National League game and then have three or four lads who would be there or thereabouts anyway, and then have a another couple of new lads who would get a chance.
"In that scenario you'll find you will have a player who will break through.
"The problem now is it is totally the opposite. We have only three or four lads who are regulars and another one or two who are struggling with injuries or coming back from injuries and the rest of them are trying to make their way on a new panel.
"Look at the Kilkenny full-back line, the only one there who has ever played there bar against Waterford was Padraig Walsh. So you have two brand new guys coming in to find their feet. They are guys who are out on a limb but are very good hurlers, and you see that right throughout the field."
Carey, who will lead his IT Carlow side into the independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend in Galway on Friday, is confident that Kilkenny will close the gap on the rest by the summer.
"Tipp are the best team in the country at the moment, Clare and Waterford are very good and Kilkenny are behind but that's not to say by June and July or August that they will be that far behind," he said.
"But certainly we would be disappointed with the nature of the loss (to Waterford) - not the loss itself, but the nature."