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Henry Shefflin: Kilkenny’s 2020 “meltdowns are in the rearview mirror” | All-Ireland race | sliotars

Henry Shefflin talks about Kilkenny’s 2020 “meltdowns in the rearview mirror”, how hurling will evolve, returning to club management with Thomastown, and more

Henry Shefflin talks about Kilkenny’s 2020 “meltdowns in the rearview mirror”, how hurling will evolve, returning to club management with Thomastown, and the precedent set with the Clare-Wexford Covid situation

Henry Shefflin believes that Kilkenny are “not too far away at all” in the hunt for the All-Ireland title.

The Cats have not claimed the Liam MacCarthy Cup since 2015, their longest barren spell since Brian Cody took over in late 1998.

Limerick have had a subdued league thus far but are still favourites in many people’s eyes, with their last championship defeat coming against Kilkenny in mid-2019.

“I actually think Galway are next, after Limerick, but I think Kilkenny, Tipp, Waterford, Wexford probably.

“I think Kilkenny would be just slightly below Galway. I would rank Galway next, but I think Kilkenny are very much there.

“Obviously the form of TJ (Reid) and the way TJ is playing is one of the major things, and I think the changes they’ve made – they’ve new backroom teams in, there’s a bit of freshness to their play last Sunday, so I think they won’t be too far away.

“And if Billy Ryan, Adrian Mullen, Eoin Cody, these players, develop.

“The one thing I referenced is a lot of teams try to mirror what Limerick do. Kilkenny, to a certain extent, but you saw last week that they’re well able to mix it and (they have) that variety in play and they can score goals.

“So, because of that, I think they are (in the race).

“You think about it, what was the score at half-time against Waterford (last year); when Kilkenny were leading in the lead-up to half-time, was it 12 or 13 points?

“It could very easily have been Kilkenny in an All-Ireland final last year, so they’re not far away at all. We’re hoping anyway!

“But I actually think, and I think last year’s performance definitely will give a lot of confidence, playing against a system like that, that they’ve probably struggled with previously.

“I think they’ll take a lot confidence from that, and I think the championship suits them.

“Brian puts a big focus on the league, they won’t have a league final and they can look forward then to playing Wexford (who are bookies favourites to beat Laois) a couple of weeks later.”

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