Thursday 19 April 2018

Underdog tag will play into Kilkenny hands, insists Lyng

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

FORMER Kilkenny star Derek Lyng and ex-Tipperary ace Eamonn Corcoran won't see eye to eye on many things this week.

But they did agree yesterday that with the teams tied on one All-Ireland each in the last two years, Sunday offers bragging rights as they meet for the third consecutive All-Ireland final.

"It's Kilkenny one, Tipp one and everyone is waiting to see who is going to come out on the right side of this one," said Corcoran, who hung up his hurl after the 2008 campaign.

Kilkenny (6/4) head into a final with an unfamiliar underdogs tag around their necks, with Tipperary priced at around 8/11, and Lyng sees similarities with the 2006 final versus Cork which sparked the Cats' total domination of the game until last year's All-Ireland decider.

"Kilkenny are coming into it for the first time in a while not as favourites. It reminds me of 2006 in a way. Cork were champions and we knew that every player that went out on the pitch would have to work their socks off for 70 minutes," said Lyng, who retired after last year's All-Ireland final defeat with an ongoing hip injury.

"The focus seems to be there (with Kilkenny). I think when you are champions you are waiting to be knocked (down), whereas the roles are reversed now because the challengers are the ones that can't wait to get out and get stuck into the other team.

"It is a change in mindset for Kilkenny. And it is one that you would like to have going into a final. That is the ideal way."

A 23-year-old Corcoran was part of the last Tipperary side that attempted to defend an All-Ireland title in 2002. Kilkenny beat them in a thriller that saw the sides level on 10 occasions and DJ Carey break the 250-point mark in championship hurling.

"We got carried away," he admitted. "You had everyone clapping you on the back saying you'll do it again. It was 2009 before Brendan (Cummins) saw another All-Ireland and the rest of us didn't see one. We probably took it a bit for granted and didn't handle it as well as we should have."

However, the JK Brackens man believes the current panel are unlikely to suffer a similar fate.

"None of us had (underage medals) then but the guys that are coming through have won minors, won U-21 All-Irelands, like Padraic Maher. They are used to winning. The belief is there.

"The first medal I ever won with Tipperary was a Munster (in 2002). I wouldn't have had that same success. These guys have it all done at underage level. You can see that confidence in their play. They just stepped up to the mark.

"The first night they came in training, from talking to Eoin (Kelly) and Larry (Corbett), they couldn't get over the team meeting, the way the boys were able to stand up and speak their mind. They weren't happy to (just) be in the panel. They saw themselves playing.

"When I was there, somebody asked me and I said I was happy to be on the panel to play with the lads. I thought it was the right thing to be saying. Far from it -- if you are going into the panel you are going in to play, and these guys have that."

Irish Independent

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