Tyrrell insists Cats 'play on the edge but we're not dirty'
KILKENNY star Jackie Tyrrell has hit back at Daithi Regan's claims that the Cats' style of play is "borderline illegal" and insisted his side operate "within the spirit of the game."
Tyrrell made no apologies for the Cats' style and dismissed the criticism which goes "in one ear and out the other".
"I don't know why Daithi has said it or even if he believes it," Tyrrell remarked at yesterday's launch of Opel's kit for clubs scheme. "I don't think we're dirty -- we play the game on the edge and we play it in the spirit it should be played. It goes in one ear and out the other. It has been said before, it's just coming out of a different mouth."
Kilkenny start their Leinster SHC campaign against either Laois or Dublin on June 23, following a successful league campaign that saw a host of youngsters stake their claim for a place in the team, and Tyrrell said he was surprised at just how quickly they have stepped up in the absence of players like Henry Shefflin, Richie Power, Noel Hickey.
"I didn't think they were ready but I suppose Brian's hand was forced with the injuries. He was probably looking at blooding them later in the league, maybe bringing them on as subs.
"But Cillian Buckley has been brilliant, Richie Doyle, I suppose Matthew Ruth was there the year before so he had a bit of a taste of it, but they have all been brilliant.
"They come in and just gel with everyone and get on with it. Maybe they could be in a bit of awe of fellas like Tommy (Walsh), Henry and lads like that -- probably heroes of theirs. No, they just get on with it and everyone gets on with everyone so you could see how they could prosper in that environment."
Unfortunately, Buckley is now considered a doubt for their Leinster SHC opener. Buckley -- one of the forerunners to replace the injured Michael Fennelly at midfield -- damaged a hamstring while playing for his club over the weekend and will be out for at least four weeks.
Shefflin, meanwhile, played a club match for Shamrocks on Friday night but sat out Sunday's challenge match against Offaly which Kilkenny won easily.
However, Shefflin is still thought to be on course to preserve his record of never having failed to start a championship match since making his Kilkenny debut in 1999.