Kilkenny selector DJ Carey feels it is be difficult for intercounty teams to look at new players in 2020, given the short lead-in to the championship.
There are no National League games for top tier hurling counties, who were allowed to resume training from September 14. The Cats open against Dublin or Laois on October 31 or November 1, and Carey says they will likely be relying on established players.
“We would have had seven weeks from the 14th of September but we’ve only four weeks with the county finalists, and give or take a week without them really, because even though they were back with us this week, they’re not back with us fully because they only had the county final,” he explained.
“So it’s a short period of time. Having said that, at the other end of it they have been hurling at a pretty high level up to now.
“I suppose the biggest thing is that teams don’t know exactly where they stand. We only had a couple of league matches back in February, we’ve had nothing since.
“We’ll have one or two challenge matches so where do you exactly stand going into a championship?
“You’ll be going back to a lot of the experienced lads, you’ll be going back and looking at that, it’s very difficult to look at anyone new coming on because how do you throw that person into a Leinster Championship match, but yet that’s what we might have to look at and we won’t have seen him much.
“So this is completely new, a lot of it will be based on training, it won’t be really based on matches, so we’re a little bit in the unknown but so is every other county as well.”
And the Noresiders will be coming in cold, against a side who will have had a championship game under their belt already.
“There’s always disadvantages and advantages of coming in cold,” noted the nine-time All-Star.
“We’ll probably get to see the winners, so that’s an advantage.
“Coming in cold? Yeah possibly. It’s always nice to have a game under your belt as well and I’m not sure, either way, I’d rather be beaten in a Leinster semi-final than I would be beaten in a quarter-final.”
And Carey is braced for as competitive a Leinster Championship than ever, with four different winners of the Bob O’Keeffe Cup in the last seven years.
“It’s open,” he said. “Wexford are very strong. Wexford would have serious ambitions this year.
“Obviously Dublin are an excellent team. When they get it right they will be a force to be reckoned with. And who knows [it] could be this year.
“Galway and Kilkenny will be there or thereabouts I’m sure as well.
“So it’s very open. I think it’s open every year.
“Anyone one of these – Dublin, Laois, ourselves, Wexford or Galway – on any given day they can take each other.”
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