Sunday 15 September 2019

Buckley is determined to help Cats top pile once again

Galway’s Pádraic Mannion and Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley are heading to Australia as part of the Sydney Irish Fest on November 10/11. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Galway’s Pádraic Mannion and Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley are heading to Australia as part of the Sydney Irish Fest on November 10/11. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Cillian Buckley is determined to establish Kilkenny as hurling's number-one team once again after going three years without an All-Ireland title.

Three seasons is the longest stint the Cats have gone without claiming Liam MacCarthy since Brian Cody took charge of the county.

And Buckley knows that the county is not used to such long periods without ultimate success.

"Kilkenny obviously have a serious history and a serious amount of All-Irelands going back through the years, but we have no God-given right to them either," he said.

"You have to earn that, to be among the top three or four teams. The truth is, the facts show, that we haven't been for the last few years.

"I suppose the aim isn't to be among the top three or four teams either, it's to be number one, compared to wherever we are at the moment.

"We haven't won an All-Ireland now in... I suppose the last four years there's been four different All-Ireland champions.

"Since 2015 you've had Tipperary, Galway, Limerick and you can add another four teams into that group again and all of them are chasing to be number one, not top four or five. That'll be the case again next year."

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Buckley led Kilkenny to a league title this year before they crashed out to Limerick. And he admits the revamped championship format took its toll this season.

"For myself, I found it difficult. Week on week you're playing on a Sunday, you're recovering but you're trying to prepare for the following weekend again at the same time, which is tough.

"That was a challenge that was laid down to every inter-county team this year and it does make it more difficult but at the same time, I suppose we were crying out for more games - we got more games, so it's just a challenge."

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