It took years for Kieran Joyce to break into Brian Cody’s side but the defender is perfectly happy to be on the outside looking in as Kilkenny start to put the disappointments of their 2013 championship to bed.
Joyce was wing-back on the side that fell to Cork in last summer’s quarter-final, but his club applied a sticking plaster to the wound with a campaign that only concludes this weekend with an All-Ireland Intermediate final against Galway’s Kilnadeema/Leitrim.
“I haven’t been in at all yet [with Kilkenny] and I haven’t seen pre-season, which is a blessing in disguise,” said the Rower Inistioge clubman. “Its been great. We went out early in July and we just concentrated with the club and had a great eight months.
“This time last year you wouldn’t have thought we’d be getting ready to play in Croke Park. The way last year ended up it was great to get a good run with the club and hopefully we can finish it off now.”
Sure, there are others making hay while he shines elsewhere, but he would hardly swap places as the club enjoys its finest hour since they won their only senior county title with Eddie Keher back in 1968.
Joyce isn’t the only one among the current generation with experience of Croke Park. Michael Grace and Sean Cummins spent time under Cody too while a number more have graced the turf for the county minors and U21s.
Joyce’s own path from underage to senior took a lengthy diversion via the county intermediates and he will leave the grade behind at club level this weekend before, hopefully, getting a call to rejoin his county colleagues for the league clash with All-Ireland champions clare in Ennis.
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