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Kilkenny CBS desperate to step out of the shadows

GIVEN their record of competitiveness at the highest level of colleges hurling, it is difficult to believe that Kilkenny CBS approach today's All-Ireland final clash against Nenagh CBS looking for just their second title.

The school has produced plenty of talent in the past and consistently competes for Leinster titles and Croke Cups, but their last national success came in 1981, while their last final appearance was in 2007.

Competing in the back yard of perennial kingpins St Kieran's College hardly helps, but manager Seamus Dwyer wants his team to come out of their rivals' shadow and write their own bit of history this afternoon.

"It would mean everything to the school," Dywer said. "It is 31 years since we won it and that is too long for a school that has as many good hurlers as we have had. We need to win this.

"We've won the U-16 'A' this year, we were in the U-14 final. We were in five or six of the last seven or eight senior Leinster finals. We take our hurling fairly seriously down here, we're always competitive. It is time now that we stepped out of the shadows and made our own glory.

Standing in Kilkenny's way at Semple Stadium are a Nenagh CBS side who have ploughed a similar furrow this season. Both sides have recovered from losing their provincial finals, with Kilkenny overcoming Colaiste na nDeise and Portumna CS.

News that Nenagh had deposed St Kieran's would have cheered them, but it also warned them of the talent that awaits them.

"It is testament to the character of both teams that they were able to bounce back from their disappointments," Dwyer said. "It was just a matter of regrouping and getting on with it.

"If we had suffered a defeat to Kieran's that put us at a different level then maybe it would have been more difficult. But we knew coming out of there that we could have won the game and that put us in a good place.

"The lads have huge belief. They know that if they work hard, they are as good as any team in Ireland. That is what we set out our stall to do, outwork our opponents."

Today they take on a well-organised Nenagh side with a penchant for keeping numbers behind the ball and serious ability from placed ball. Kilkenny's workrate will need to be complemented by patience, with both sides knowing what's at stake.

"They'll want it every bit as much as us, they are a seriously organised unit. But at the end of the day, it is a game of hurling. They will close down space and we will have to counter that," Dwyer added.

Irish Independent