Friday 30 September 2016

Loughnane comments will give Cats added 'spurt', insists Shefflin

Published 17/05/2016 | 02:30

Henry Shefflin: 'I thought Clare last year would have come and I spoke about them pre-championship and I have no doubt this year that they are coming. They're winning matches that they wouldn't have won last year or the year previous. So I think they're a serious team and are short a few players as well at the moment like Kilkenny' Photo: Sportsfile
Henry Shefflin: 'I thought Clare last year would have come and I spoke about them pre-championship and I have no doubt this year that they are coming. They're winning matches that they wouldn't have won last year or the year previous. So I think they're a serious team and are short a few players as well at the moment like Kilkenny' Photo: Sportsfile

Kilkenny legend Henry Shefflin believes Ger Loughnane's controversial view that the Cats are a "functional" team can give them an added "spurt" as the summer unfolds.

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Shefflin insisted that the former Clare manager's comments won't dominate the discourse in the Kilkenny dressing room but he reckons the squad will be very aware of the remarks.

"I know Brian (Cody) will not be up there talking about it, or anything like that. But in the dressing room lads are sitting around the table having the chat and talking about what Loughnane said.

"The lads don't use it for motivation, but I know myself how it is. You are driving along in the car and listening to the radio or you are reading the paper and it gives you a bit of spurt to say, 'We'll show them now'.

"That's what great players use. It's not something they'll need, but it is in the background."

Loughnane also insisted there was "no way" the current Kilkenny side, who start their championship campaign on June 11 against the winners of Saturday night's clash between Dublin and Wexford, should be chasing a third consecutive title given the talent at their disposal.

Novelty

But Shefflin doesn't see that landmark as a distraction.

"I don't think it will affect any of the lads this year either. The first year it did. There was a lot of talk in 2004 when Cork beat us well in the final. It was such a novelty that year. Some of the lads this year are going for it a third time. That novelty isn't attached to it any more," he said.

And while he expects his former team-mates to be in the shake-up for All-Ireland honours, he has been impressed with Clare and Waterford so far this year.

"I thought Clare last year would have come and I spoke about them pre-championship and I have no doubt this year that they are coming. They're winning matches that they wouldn't have won last year or the year previous. So I think they're a serious team and are short a few players as well at the moment like Kilkenny.

"For me, it's always about the top-quality forwards. Tony Kelly, Podge, Conor McGrath, they have so much talent up front and they can do serious damage.

"I did have reservations about Waterford whether they have that. But, I tell you, after the second day I must say I have changed my tune a bit. I do think they have that talent. I think bringing Austin (Gleeson) further forward is definitely helping. And you have to be impressed with (Patrick) Curran and (Shane) Bennett."

Irish Independent

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