GAA: One game at a time for 'Cha'

GAA: One game at a time for 'Cha'

Despite the one-sided nature of Kilkenny's Leinster SHC semi-final win over Offaly at O'Moore Park, on Sunday, Cats midfielder James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick still believes his side have to take it one game at a time in their quest for an All-Ireland three-in-a-row.

"The way we are looking at it this year is that we are going to take each match as it comes. We are not looking ahead," Fitzpatrick said.

"We are just looking forward to the Leinster final in three weeks' time. We have club matches next weekend. It's back to the club which is great as well.

"Then we'll focus on a Leinster final whether it's Wexford or Dublin."

'Cha' captained the Kilkenny team for the first time in a senior championship match on Sunday, having previously skippered the Cats to All-Ireland Under-21 glory.

He was delighted to get his stint as the leader of the seniors off to a positive start.

"It was a great occasion for us. Every year we go out it always is a big occasion no matter who we are playing.

"I suppose talking about the match against Offaly - the first half really was championship hurling."

Fitzpatrick was quick to stress just how tough it was in the opening 35 minutes against Offaly, and how thankful his side were that Martin Comerford found the back of the net on the stroke of half-time.

"Offaly did put it up to us. Martin Comerford's goal before half-time was a crucial score.

"Then Aidan Fogarty's goal in the second half just killed off the game really. If you don't drive forward in these matches the underdogs will get their tails up and then they are a dangerous force."

After a long lay off due to injury, 'Cha' was delighted to see his county team-mate and fellow Ballyhale Shamrocks man, Henry Shefflin, back in the black and amber.

Shefflin top-scored in Sunday's game with 11 points and also set up Comerford's goal which kick-started Kilkenny's march to victory.

"It's great to see Henry back," Fitzpatrick enthused.

"He deserves to be back on the pitch where he belongs. He's after putting in a huge effort over Christmas and the months since he has been injured.

"I suppose he was lacking a bit of match practice. He had a few matches with his club under his belt, and it's great the match worked out well for him and he's feeling okay after it."

With Dublin and Wexford drawing at Nowlan Park on Saturday in the other semi-final, 'Cha' and his Kilkenny colleagues are still unaware who their Leinster final opponents will be.

But this is not something they have been thinking about much and 'Cha' does not have a preference for who he would like to see win next Sunday's replay at Croke Park.

"I don't really care who is in it to be honest.

"Whoever gets through, I reckon the final will be a step up (for us). As you progress in the championship it usually is a step up. We have our sights firmly set on the Leinster final now."

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