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Eoin Larkin Column: TJ Reid Showed Why He Is The Best Hurler In Ireland

Eoin Larkin

Kilkenny made a huge improvement to share the spoils in Thurles. Tipperary were looking for two points but Kilkenny really showed the fight on Saturday night, and it was great to see that they were able to back it up after the win against Cork.

I think Brian Cody will have been happy with the point.

The younger guys like Conor O’Shea, Jason Cleere and Paddy Deegan really stood up and were counted.

That’s what you need. It really freed up the likes of TJ Reid and Richie Hogan and they were able to express themselves the way they can.

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I think Reid has been the best hurler in Ireland for the last number of years. Things haven’t always worked out for him in the past.

He can make the ball talk, and that’s what he’s been doing on a consistent basis.

Obviously, he needs the other 14 lads around him helping him out as well.

Scoring 3-5 in a League game in March against the All-Ireland champions, you can’t knock it, and he was exceptional on Saturday night.

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We have seen a huge improvement after the Clare game.

The League is a building process. Slowly but surely they’ve gotten better with each passing game.

Going to Thurles to play Tipp probably gave them that added edge as well. Having lost last year’s All-Ireland final, that would have been an extra motivation.

When I was playing, we always wanted to go to the All-Ireland champions and put in a good performance. Cillian Buckley spoke about it afterwards; they had their eyes on Tipp since last September.

But the key thing now is to go to Dublin in two weeks’ time and maintain that level of performance.

One good performance is not enough. They need to back it up in Parnell Park.

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Not many were expecting the Cats to do much on Saturday.

We were never true underdogs when I played with Kilkenny. That psychological edge is now gone.

We had built up such a head of steam, we used to go out and if we got a chance for a goal in the first few minutes, more often than not we’d take it.

We used to score quick early goals, but then tag on a few points after it, and it’s very hard to come back from them. I think that’s where the edge came form. We used to do that fairly consistently as well.

I think that’s where the edge came form. We used to do that fairly consistently as well.

I don’t think Brian and the lads will be too worried about that. All they want to try and do is get good performances in, and if that happens in the process, all the better. But it’s all about winning over 70 minutes.

The scoreboard only matters after 70 minutes. It doesn’t matter who is ahead with five minutes gone or five minutes to go.

Job done for the Cats, and it’s onto Dublin in two weeks’ time.

Eoin Larkin, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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