BRIAN Hogan joined an illustrious list of Kilkenny captains when he hoisted the Bob O'Keeffe Cup aloft to hail his county's unprecedented seven-in-a-row of Leinster titles on Sunday.
The O'Loughlin Gaels clubman follows Peter Barry (2005), Jackie Tyrrell ('06), Henry Shefflin ('07), James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick ('08), Shefflin again ('09) and TJ Reid (2010) as Noreside skippers tasked with the pleasant duty of accepting the Leinster trophy.
And as he set his sights on another walk up the Hogan Stand steps in September, Hogan reminded the outside world that silverware still gets Kilkenny's pulse racing, particularly after the All-Ireland defeat to Tipperary and the league final loss to Dublin.
Describing the feeling of victory on Sunday, Hogan said: "It's brilliant. The last couple of times we've been here we've walked away empty-handed, so it's nice to have something to show for it. Lifting the trophy is fantastic but you can't be getting carried away with it."
Veteran defender Noel Hickey also reiterated Kilkenny's hunger for more success. "We don't take it for granted and you can't beat the winning feeling," he said. "The year is short, and your career is short so you try to win everything that is there."
Hogan laughed off suggestions that the full-back line had questions to answer against Dublin, saying: "I wouldn't like to be telling Hickey he's a weak link, and me hurling in front of him.
"You're going to have good days along with bad days, and lads don't turn bad overnight."
The captain was pleased with the performance of Leinster final debutants Paul Murphy at left half-back and Colin Fennelly in the forwards.
"Colin is a great hurler. He's been doing well with Ballyhale for the last couple of years and he's been knocking on the door. He had a good day," said Hogan. "Paul Murphy, a young lad, stepped in there and had a stormer.
"Down in Kilkenny, it's not as if they come out of nowhere. Brian (Cody) and the boys would be watching them and know exactly what they're like.
"When it comes, you have to grab your chance. It's what we all did down through the years. In fairness to them, they performed."