Sunday 28 May 2017

Kilkenny CBS eager to make final step

Neil Ahern

HISTORICALLY they have been stuck in the shadows of their greatest rivals, St Kieran's Kilkenny, but now Kilkenny CBS are ready to emerge as the county's leading light in schools hurling, starting today when the two clash in a mouthwatering Leinster Colleges SHC final at Nowlan Park (2.0).

With 16 All-Ireland schools hurling titles -- more than any other school -- Kieran's are the outfit that all the others aspire to, and CBS are no exception. "We set out our stall in the last few years to take that title off Kieran's as the best team and the best hurling nursery in Kilkenny and Leinster. We've been working extremely hard to do that," said Kilkenny CBS manager PJ McCormack.

"This game is a real high point for us now in trying to achieve that, but we've contested four of the last five Leinster hurling finals, so it's been going good. But I'm expecting more, to be honest and I think, and hope, these lads can go all the way."

While they have been almost ever-present in the provincial decider in recent years, they have only claimed one title during that time. This was in 2007, when they were later beaten in the All-Ireland final by De La Salle Waterford.

They suffered a huge shock to the system, however, last year when they were dumped out of Leinster in the first round by a strong Castlecomer side, but McCormack dismisses any notion that that defeat may play on his players' minds today.

"After such success in previous years, we let ourselves down last year, but we're just going to focus on the skill and ability that this team has.

"We're not thinking about history," he concludes. Against St Kieran's college, they'd be well advised not to.

Verdict: Kilkenny CBS.

Irish Independent

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