Former Kilkenny hurler Eddie O'Connor says Sunday may be end of an era for losing side

Updated: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2012 12:00 | Comments

1993 All-Ireland winning captain Eddie O'Connor
1993 All-Ireland winning captain Eddie O'Connor

Kilkenny legend Eddie O’Connor believes that players could retire following Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final between Tipperary and Kilkenny.

O’Connor believes ‘a number of players’ could retire from the side which loses Sunday’s semi-final showdown.

O’Connor said in the Irish Examiner: "If you look at Tipperary’s performance against Waterford, I don’t think that’d be good enough to beat Kilkenny.

"And if you look at Kilkenny’s performance against Galway and in the first-half against Limerick, that wouldn’t be good enough to beat Tipp.

"It’s a huge game for both counties and you’ll definitely see a number of players retiring from the team that loses on Sunday. So it’s possible that it’ll be the end of an era for some of the greatest players that ever played hurling.

"The jury is out [on Kilkenny] after the Galway performance. A lot of people see it that Kilkenny maybe, are coming to the end of their tether. They have been on the road a long time. They have a fierce amount of miles on the clock as regards championship hurling.

“At the end of the day, it’s like Muhammad Ali, the end comes for everyone. There are doubts in Kilkenny. Questions are being asked. Is this the end? Only Sunday will tell."

O'Connor believes both teams will improve hugely, once they get the chance. He added: "With the exception of Richie Hogan, Kilkenny will have their strongest panel to pick from, with the return of Michael Rice and Michael Fennelly.

"For Tipperary, every extra training session Lar Corbett gets into him, there's going to be an improvement.

"For Kilkenny, against Limerick, Michael Rice and Michael Fennelly were improving immensely and with three or four weeks' hard training under their belt there'll be plenty more improvement.

"You'd have to say it's probably the same for Tipperary."

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