Eoin Larkin worried lack of desire hampering Kilkenny’s chances of success

Former Hurler of the Year describes Waterford semi-final defeat as ‘a huge disappointment’

Eoin Larkin believes a lack of desire will hamper Kilkenny’s hopes of success.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Eoin Larkin believes a lack of desire will hamper Kilkenny’s hopes of success. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Former Hurler of the Year and Kilkenny All-Ireland winner Eoin Larkin is pessimistic about the county’s immediate future and feels that neither the calibre of player nor the drive to succeed is what it was in previous teams.

“I was speaking to someone last night about it and he was asking if Kilkenny needed a change of manager or what and in my opinion the calibre of player that we had in our team is just not there – TJ Reid is probably the exception.

“We had some talented hurlers but the drive, the desire, all of that – what needs to be there on a regular basis is probably not there.”

Describing the defeat by Waterford in November’s All-Ireland semi-final as “a huge disappointment”, he said that he had hoped the 2019 final defeat by Tipperary might be a springboard for the team but now thought success was less likely.

“I think it is farther away. Losing the All-Ireland should have been the spark for the hunger to get back the following year and to know what kind of work is involved in getting there and going a step farther to win it. And they were in a great position at half-time against Waterford to kick on and finish the game off and they just kind of collapsed. That would have been a huge disappointment I think.

“Nobody really stood up in the second half of that game and with TJ Reid 33 now, it’s hard to see him lasting another couple of years maybe – and Colin Fennelly after stepping away, Walter Walsh dropped for the semi-final as well. The experienced lads or the lads that have probably carried us to this stage for the last four or five years, they’re coming to the end of their careers, so it’s going to be probably a totally different team.”

He believes that long-serving manager Brian Cody may end up under pressure if the All-Ireland isn’t regained but doesn’t see that pressure having much impact given that Kilkenny have reached an All-Ireland final and won Leinster in the past two years.

“I’d argue that probably no one else would have got that out of what he had available but look, the pressure last year, he came under a bit of pressure, that’ll keep building in Kilkenny if he doesn’t win an All-Ireland. Will it bother him? I don’t see it bothering him in the slightest.”

* Eoin Larkin will feature in the first episode of a new Laochra Gael series, starting on TG4 this Thursday at 9.30pm.

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