Saturday 23 March 2019

Kilkenny remain benchmark for rest of us - Maher

Ronan Maher. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ronan Maher. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Kilkenny may be without an All-Ireland title since 2015 but Tipperary's Ronan Maher says they are still the side that everyone should measure themselves against.

The neighbouring counties face off in the fourth round of the Allianz Hurling League this Sunday in Thurles, with victory badly needed by each side if they harbour realistic hopes of qualifying for the quarter-final stages.

In his first year back in charge of the team, Liam Sheedy's side have only managed to win one of their three games in the league, while Kilkenny have also lost twice.

The great rivals last met in the 2018 league final where Kilkenny claimed a convincing six-point win, while the Cats had one point to spare six weeks earlier.

In 2017, the sides drew in the league, so Tipp's last win in the rivalry came in the 2016 All-Ireland final. Kilkenny's powers have not waned, according to Maher.

"They've had one of the greatest teams in the last few years and everyone's been looking up to them," said Maher (23), who won his only All-Ireland medal in that 2016 final.

"The rivalry with Kilkenny has grown over the last 10 or so years, it's a massive game no matter whether it's the league or championship.

"It's the kind of game the supporters from both counties tend to judge their team on because of the rivalry.

"It's always nice to set down a marker for the championship, and with both counties having had two losses, you can be sure both teams will be going all out."

Irish Independent

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