Lengthy break no problem for Joyce

Last year’s All-Ireland final replay man of the match Kieran Joyce has played down the significance of Kilkenny’s 12-week break between league and championship.

After this weekend, the Cats will still have three weeks remaining to their Leinster semi-final against Wexford or Westmeath in Nowlan Park on June 21. Their last competitive outing came in the Division 1A relegation final win over Clare on March 29.

But Joyce feels this Sunday’s challenge game against Limerick in his own Rower-Inistioge club will give Kilkenny an indication of where they are at.

“A lot of lads have been able to look after niggles in the meantime and get themselves back into the condition that they want to. Even club championship games in Kilkenny, there’s a fierce intensity to them and it’s not a case of losing sharpness going back for a couple of weeks with your clubs. The county lads know themselves you have to do a bit extra on your own as well on top of what you do with your clubs.

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“We played three rounds of the championship over the last few weeks so we’re coming back now and getting settled into it again. Limerick will be championship sharp, their whole panel will be. It might be a wake-up call but we’re looking forward to it. It will be good preparations as we hope to peak for June 21.”

The fixture celebrates the Rower-Inistioge club’s 60-year anniversary as well as the opening of its new pitch and Joyce says it will be a particularly proud occasion for him.

“It’s the 60-year anniversary of The Rower and Inistioge amalgamating. For years, we had very little success but over the last couple of years we have had some and are now playing senior, which is fantastic. The last time that happened was around Eddie Keher’s time and we have aspirations of emulating that. We’ve extended our facilities and it will be very special to host this game. Hopefully, it’ll promote the village and the parish a bit more.”

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