Depending on your persuasion, Kilkenny’s U21 hurlers are either battle hardened in the extreme or there for the taking.
Against Dublin in the Leinster quarter-finals they trailed for 59 of the 62 minutes but still found a way to win, courtesy of a late Mark Mansfield goal.
The two-point winning margin was replicated in the semi-final against Carlow though even the most ardent Kilkenny fan could hardly view that outcome as a glaring success.
Conor Martin’s five points were crucial that evening and, to his credit, he doesn’t attempt to play the battle hardened card where their unconvincing displays so far are concerned.
“It was absolute luck at the end of the day against Dublin,” said Martin. “I suppose we were in it the whole game and they just failed to bury us. It just shows that if luck is on your side on the day you can go a long way.”
Against a side like Wexford this evening, opponents chasing three provincial titles in a row, luck will only get you so far. Kilkenny know that too because they’ve been knocked out of the last two campaigns by the Model County.
“To be honest, I thought Carlow were a very underrated team but we went in looking for a big performance and we didn’t really get it.
“I think if we go down to Wexford Park with that performance and attitude again, we’ll be blown out of it,” said centre-forward Martin.
“It’s been a while now without a Leinster title and we are reminded of it a bit, not from the fans or anything, it’s just from the management.
“The management really want to win a Leinster title for the team. 2012 was the last time we did it so we have to drive on now and win another one.
“Some people are starting to call it a famine but three or four years I don’t think is a famine. At the same time, it’s probably about time another one came around for us.”
Kilkenny manager Brian Ryan has made three changes to his team for tonight’s tie, including a start for senior boss Brian Cody’s son, Diarmuid. He replaces Brian Troy in the half-backs while Kevin Kenny and the fit again Chris Bolger replace James Maher and Ciaran Ryan in attack.
D Brennan; E Cody, C Delaney, C Wallace; J Cleere, E Morrissey, D Cody; P Deegan, W Brennan; M Mansfield, C Martin, L Blanchfield; K Kenny, C Bolger, L Hickey.