Kieran Joyce warns Kilkenny keen to beat Cork and avoid relegation play-off

Kilkenny hope to avoid a relegation play-off and another yawning break between league and Championship by beating Cork on Saturday, says Kieran Joyce.
Kieran Joyce warns Kilkenny keen to beat Cork and avoid relegation play-off

The All-Ireland champions last year had to bridge 12 weeks between their relegation play-off win over Clare and a Leinster semi-final against Wexford.

Should they be dragged into another game to avoid the drop on March 27, they will have to wait 10 weeks until they face Dublin or Wexford in the last four of the provincial championship.

With two wins from three, Kilkenny are well placed to earn a quarter-final spot although Joyce isn’t jumping to conclusions.

“You just don’t know. It’s so competitive now.

The Rower-Inistioge man would like to see the gap between the league and Championship reduced. “It gives lads who have injuries time to get back into contention but it can be a little bit long, a little bit dragged out,” he recalled of last year’s experience.

“To be fair, the Kilkenny County Board are fairly good. We got a lot of club matches played between those dates which is good as well.

“With other counties around the country, it can be tough to get that schedule right. It’s something they’re looking at, at the moment.

Like Brian Cody, Joyce believes Cork will be primed this weekend having failed to pick up a point from their first three games. “We are going down to their home patch. You always want to win your home games. It’s very important. They are going to be hurting of course. They are going to be an animal down there.”

Meanwhile Joyce confirmed his younger brother Darragh is set to sign a rookie contract with an AFL club later this year.

“He’s talking to a few clubs in contention there at the moment. He’s in with the Kilkenny U21s as well. So he is trying to juggle all that.

“He’s focused on trying to get that job. There’s a couple of clubs interested so he might be going to Australia later in the summer. He’s gung-ho trying to get that. It’s the dream, to wake up on a Monday morning and you don’t have to go to work - you go get your recovery, your physio and so on. It’s great for him.”

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