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'I actually rate Ger, I think he's a good analyst but to say we're functional. I don't see how.'

Jackie Tyrrell and his Kilkenny teammates are three wins away from completing three-in-a-row.

RTÉ pundit Ger Loughnane and Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell.
RTÉ pundit Ger Loughnane and Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell.

WHATEVER SENSE OF concern there may have been over Kilkenny’s 2016 hurling prospects, was firmly dispelled in Portlaoise last Saturday night.

They swatted Dublin aside by 12 points to canter into a Leinster final and helped the memories of the four-goal concession against Clare in April fade.

Kilkenny now stand just three victories away from an All-Ireland three-in-a-row.

Not bad for a team described as ‘functional’ by Clare legend Ger Loughnane back in April, with Loughnane also asserting that there was ‘no way’ that this bunch of Cats should be on the brink of a third successive Liam MacCarthy Cup triumph.

“Ah sure, I don’t know really what to make of it,” smiled Jackie Tyrrell, speaking yesterday at a GAA-GPA Avonmore Protein launch in Croke Park.

Avonmore launches a new Vanilla flavoured Protein Milk in association with the GAA and GPA Jackie Tyrrell and Paul Flynn at yesterday's GAA-GPA Avonmore Protein launch. Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

“I think these auld lads, and I see it with Fan Larkin in our club, ‘ye weren’t as good as in our day’ and ‘there were no hamstrings in my day’ and all this kind of craic.

“I think they have that kind of mentality about them and maybe Ger is alluding to that a bit.

Brian Cody celebrates with Jackie Tyrrell Brian Cody and Jackie Tyrrell celebrate last September's All-Ireland final win. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“The ‘functional’ comments, it doesn’t really make sense to me. Does it bother me? It doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

“I actually rate Ger, I think he’s a good analyst but to say we’re functional. I don’t see how.

“If you see the success that we’ve had and the players that have played and the players that are still playing.

“You’d hear him talking about players that we do have, TJ Reid and Richie Hogan, some of the best players ever and to say that a team is functional, just doesn’t (add up).”

TJ Reid Kilkenny boss TJ Reid with supporters after last Saturday's game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Would more silverware this season endorse the excellence of this Kilkenny side?

“Yeah, I suppose it would,” stated Tyrrell.

“But sure how many boxes do you have to tick before he’s satisfied really? Maybe Ger is just trying to fill a few column pages.”

Tyrrell does not subscribe to the theory that the comments will provide more motivation for Kilkenny in 2016.

“I don’t really buy into that. We don’t look at what this lad said or what that lad said, it hasn’t been referenced in our dressing-room and I can’t see it being referenced.

“Ger has had a few rants about us over the years. What’s another year, as the song goes.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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