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Cats' success built on quality players
In reply to John Berry's letter [Oct 23], I find it bizarre that someone could compare Kilkenny with the Donegal football team, and to blame them for Waterford's "copycat" defensive style under Davy Fitzgerald. It begs the question as to whether he's ever seen this Kilkenny team in action.
With regard to his comment regarding 1996, Kilkenny did not even play Cork in the championship that year. If it was 2006 he was referring to, then it's ironic that Cork's football/basketball, short handpassing and possession game that year was a lot more like Donegal's style than anything Kilkenny have ever produced.
Kilkenny brought hurling to a new level from 2007 on, and have averaged an unprecedented 28 points per game since then thanks to their quality in attack. This average is a result of having very skilful hurlers, which include some of the greatest players ever to grace our game. Kilkenny's style is simple, man-for-man hurling which focuses on work-rate, and trusting players to be better than the opposition.
In contrast, Waterford's style involved a seventh defender being constantly deployed, a style that has absolutely zero to do with "copying the Cats" as Mr Berry put it. Donegal employ a 14-man defence when they don't have the ball. In short, the comparisons are ludicrous. Kilkenny win hurling matches because they have the best and most committed players and the best manager. Simple.
Loughnane right to call it as he saw it
The letter from John White [Nov 13] typifies the prickly attitude of Kilkenny's fans where the slightest criticism of their players is concerned. The point is the very forthright opinion of Ger Loughnane was typically honest when he had the courage to stick his head above the parapet in referring to the facial injury suffered by one of Limerick's hurlers when the end of a hurley was jabbed into his face through the faceguard of his helmet. Is it any wonder that 31 counties belong to the ABK (Anybody But Kilkenny) club?
A case to answer
I have read once again Jonny Wilkinson's account of the use of the match balls in the matches against Argentina, Romania and Scotland in the World Cup in New Zealand. It is, so far as I can see, a fair-minded and honest account.
But it also presents a case that simply must be answered by the rugby authorities if the game is to have any credibility for fair play.
England were accused of cheating against Romania and Dave Alred and Paul Stridgeon were suspended from the match against Scotland. It is at least possible that the cheating took the form rather of ball-tampering and that possibility certainly needs to be investigated. Many rugby matches are determined by goal kicks. Thus an awful French XV (9) beat a gallant Welsh XIV (8) by penalties. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have matchwinners in their goalkickers and all seem to have been affected by the unpredictability of the match balls in New Zealand. The loss of confidence is corrosive both for the player and for the team.
Refreshing take on career of Frazier
Just a short note to register my enjoyment at reading Tommy Conlon's article about Smokin' Joe Frazier [Nov 13].
It was refreshing, as a boxing fan, to read an article about Joe Frazier which did not include the words 'Muhammad' or 'Ali'.
Frazier was a great champion and although he earned a large proportion of this greatness through his rivalry with Ali, he is deserving of more respect in the annals of sport than merely Ali's toughest opponent.
Although this article won't redress what I perceive to be a constant imbalance in how the narrative of Frazier's career is presented, it does make for refreshing reading for any person with an interest in the sweet science.
Sunday Indo Sport