Wednesday 21 February 2018

Martin braced for Parnell Park battle

Kilkenny's Conor Martin is expecting a tough battle against Dublin tonight at Parnell Park
Kilkenny's Conor Martin is expecting a tough battle against Dublin tonight at Parnell Park
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kilkenny's Conor Martin is expecting a battle royal this evening when he and his U-21 team-mates travel to Parnell Park (7.30) to take on Dublin in the Bord Gais Leinster quarter-final.

Martin, who is one of just four players with both the U-21s and Brian Cody's senior team, was speaking ahead of the Cats' Leinster Championship clash with Dublin in Donnycarney this evening.

Along with Brian Troy, Chris Bolger and Diarmuid Cody, he is involved with the county's senior panel.

Martin will be expected to lead the line as Kilkenny look to reassert their dominance at the grade which has seen Wexford take control in recent seasons.

And despite Dublin's strong record at home, Martin believes the young Cats can deliver a strong performance in the capital.

"You'd think that Dublin away in Parnell Park is a tough fixture but we're going to concentrate on doing everything right on the day and focus on the game and try and win all the breaks and work as hard as we can," he said.

"Hopefully the result will come our way. It's not about the pitch we're playing on, it's about our attitude. We're used to training on Nowlan Park and it's no different (to Parnell Park). It's just on the day they'll probably have more support and on the day we'll just have to block that out and just play the game"

The Urlingford Emeralds clubman believes the county has failed to reach its potential at the grade in recent years as Wexford took control in Leinster.

"That Wexford team were very strong and went onto contest an All-Ireland final against one of the best Clare teams that have ever played the game. Wexford were very strong and kind of overpowered us.

"They were sharper to the ball. What we're doing this year is toning down the training a bit just to be sharp and get our reflexes right for the day so that we hit the ground running.

"We probably have underachieved the last few years. I don't know if there's a fear factor.

"We've a good crop of minors coming through after winning the All-Ireland. They're developing and they're getting stronger and fitter. They'll bring a nice winning mentality to the whole set-up. Hopefully, we can drive it on.

"The underdog tag, it only makes you more hungry to win on the day. The minors were probably underdogs (last year) and then they showed what they could do in the Leinster final.

"They went out and beat Dublin comprehensively and turned around the card. We're hoping we can put in a good performance in the first round and then turn around the card and people will have a different view."

A date with Carlow in the next round is the prize for the winners.

Irish Independent

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