Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan has revealed how much he dislikes the structure of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Hogan helped the Cats defeat Waterford in an All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday, leaving the reigning champions in another final after a mere three games.
“I don’t like the system at all. I hate it,” the 2014 Hurler of the Year told Newstalk’s Off The Ball. “I’d rather have a match every two weeks.
“This year we’ve played three games and we’re in an All-Ireland final. Last year after three games we were in a Leinster final, so it’s a stark contrast.
“If I had a choice, I’d love to play six or seven games at least in the championship. But you don’t have a choice.”
Citing other sports, Hogan compared the differences between regular league matches to the waits between hurling games:
“If you look at the Premiership or any sport, they’re all more or less league-based, whereas ours is championship-based, which is a tough thing to do.
“The distance between our last League game and our first Championship game was 12 weeks, so it was three months in the middle of the year with no game whatsoever.
“It’s a hard thing to change because there’s tradition and all that sort of thing there. But from a player point of view, of course you’d love more games and less training.”
Hogan believes that the depth in Kilkenny’s squad enables them to overcome such periods of inactivity, playing in-house games between themselves.
Those internal matches will be crucial in the four-week build up to an All-Ireland final.
Hogan added: “We’re probably more used to it than other counties because if you win the Leinster final, which we have done for a good few years – 10 of the last 13 – you automatically know that you get a five-week break, you get one week of club games and then you have about three full weeks of hard training.
“Unless your squad is of a standard that you can play matches of championship intensity, then you’re really at nothing.”
“I’m probably not motivated by winning All-Irelands or winning All-Stars or winning anything to be honest; what motivates me is to train. Especially since we have so few matches in the Senior Championship, what motivates me most is just playing the games.
“We train so hard and we only have a game every four or five weeks and you’re just so motivated for that day because you’ve trained so hard, and you just want to go out and show what you can do.”