Ready to go to war
Captain Kavanagh confident Wicklow can go all the way
Speaking his mind doesn't seem to be an issue for Warren Kavanagh. The Wicklow hurling captain did an interview on the radio once which he found a troubling experience but he's more than willing to do more interviews if they're to discuss Christy Ring Cup success.
The Rathnew and Glenealy man is adamant that Wicklow have all the right tools to achieve success in this year's competition and feels that the group's incredible closeness will play a massive part in it.
Kavanagh doesn't fancy being a bridesmaid again this year and wants a taste of success at inter-county level after an embarrassment of riches at club level.
"We're very, very confident. We've been close for the last few years - we've always just missed out. You can see what happened with Carlow and Antrim and what they've gone on to do so hopefully we can go all the way this year.
"We do believe we are the best in it and we're confident that we can go all the way.
"You can compare it (success at club versus county) to a certain extent but it is different in the sense that with the club, it's people you've grown up with. But to captain your county to a Christy Ring - that'd be absolutely fantastic. It'd definitely be up there. It's something that I've always wanted to do. I've always said that I wanted to do the double with Glenealy and Rathnew and I got that last year so please God I get my hands on the Christy Ring this year and I'll be a happy man."
By throw-in this weekend, it'll be over two months since Wicklow's last competitive outing. It has left Wicklow very eager to cross that white line once again and avenge the defeat they suffered at the hands of Mayo in Division 2B - a match that Kavanagh feels was within Wicklow's reach.
"We're getting there. We're like a horse in a trap - we're waiting for the first game to let loose and go out there and go for it.
"We're very close as a bunch, I've found that in the last two or three years. When I was coming up the underage, you wouldn't have a bond with the players but now at senior level - when you're going to training you feel like you're going to club training. That's how close we are on the team. We've a great bond and we're going very well.
"We're still very confident. We had the beatings of them over there. It obviously didn't go our way on the day with the red card and stuff which turned it on its head but at the same time we're very confident that we can beat them. We were beating them and on top of them over there. Please God we'll be even more on top of them in Aughrim."
Since that defeat in Mayo, there have been some changes to the panel and that - combined with injuries - mean that Seamus Murphy has a lot of thinking to do before he can scribble down the chosen 15.
"Mikey (Lee) and PJ (Nolan) have come into the panel and a couple of other lads have come in as well - you get that every year, where lads will drop off and lads will come back.
"The additional forward or two should help us but sure we'll see how it goes. We don't know what team we'll be putting out yet and we don't know what team they'll be putting out yet. We won't know what'll happen until the day.
"It's hard for him (Murphy). I'd say he's no team picked yet - he might have a few places that lads have nailed down but there's a lot of positions up for grabs. We've a few niggly injuries here and there as well that you always seem to get coming up to championship."
In 2017, Kavanagh feels that Wicklow improved as time went on and he'll have no complaints if they repeat that trend this time around. He's also glad to be back in Joule Park where has developed a thirst for winning.
"Last year we were going very well after getting to a league final and we were just getting better and better after every game. Hopefully this year will be the same and we'll improve after every game. We started off kind of slow against Dublin last year but made up for it and got better each time and eventually met Carlow and we were a bit better than them but they went on to win it. It was nice that they won it and scored five goals in the final because they couldn't even score one against us. We weren't too far off so hopefully this year we go all the way.
"I like Aughrim a lot. Me personally, I've always loved playing there with the clubs and I played a lot there last year with the clubs. You get used to it and it's a nice feeling jogging out at Aughrim - it's the main county ground. The pitch is always good as well because it wouldn't be used for training sessions and stuff like that so when it does come to championship time it's always good. You usually get a nice crowd there too."
Kavanagh will be trying to lead vocally and by example against Mayo and hopes this interview isn't a once-off.
"A bit of both. I haven't played in the last week or two with an injury so I haven't really done much talking in the dressing room but wait until the time comes and I'll say a few words alright. As the game goes on I'll talk on the pitch. I'll let my hurling do the talking as well. I enjoy it though - I don't mind talking!
"Please god we go on and win it and there'll be another interview!"