Promising Mullen learning all he can from three Kilkenny masters

Managers Shefflin, Carey and Cody honing the game of Cats’ impressive young star

Adrian Mullen: has won an All-Ireland club championship already and, following the Kilkenny seniors’ progress to the All-Ireland final, he is now targeting another decider with the Under-20s.  Ogitigraog:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Adrian Mullen: has won an All-Ireland club championship already and, following the Kilkenny seniors’ progress to the All-Ireland final, he is now targeting another decider with the Under-20s. Ogitigraog: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

 

It can’t be easy to serve and to learn from three different masters. Especially when they happen to be Brian Cody, DJ Carey and Henry Shefflin.

For Adrian Mullen it’s all part of his fast learning apprenticeship in Kilkenny hurling, which continues this Saturday with the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland under-20 semi-final against Cork. And he’s relishing it, naturally.

Carey is currently the Kilkenny under-20 manager, and Mullen admits he’s too young to recall any of his famous exploits. Mullen was born in 1999, the same year Cody first served as Kilkenny manager, and just turned 20, he does at least recall some of the playing days of Shefflin, who managed his club Ballyhale Shamrocks to the All-Ireland title in March.

Saturday’s game (Tipperary face Wexford in the other semi-final) comes just seven days after Mullen played another starring role in helping the Kilkenny seniors book their place in the All-Ireland. It’s one game at a time, obviously.

“Yeah, really good win, good to be facing into an All-Ireland, but obviously all the focus is on this weekend, get over Cork on Saturday,” he said.

“It takes a day or two to let the body recover. All the focus on Cork now. We enjoyed Saturday night, but it was all systems go then for Cork.”

Serving Cody, Carey and Shefflin is also easy when they clearly give so much of the same.

“They’re obviously great people to learn from, and what better people to learn from. And Henry’s been great at club level, I learned an awful lot from Henry. He will always have something to say.

“Everyone is different in their own way, but still the same principles [apply], work hard every day, bring a good attitude to the game. They’re different but not different, if you know what I mean.

“My first year with the club wasn’t great, and obviously you learn from that as well. We knew we had a lot of potential, and it was good to win the county final first, then go on to win the All-Ireland.

“Going in with Kilkenny, I just wanted to work as hard as I could, see where that takes me, thankfully I did start every game so far, and it’s good to get that experience under your belt. You adapt to that and get used to that. I had that problem coming up with club senior and it was a step up from underage, those kind of things.

“It has been a good year but there’s still two games left, hopefully three, so it’s not over yet.”

Saturday: All-Ireland Under-20HC semi-final: Kilkenny v Cork, O’Moore Park, 2pm (TG4); Sunday: All-Ireland Under-20HC semi-final: Tipperary v Wexford, Nowlan Park, 1.45pm TG4

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