Kilkenny centre-back Brian Hogan believes that they will have to improve on their performance in demolishing Tipperary if they are to secure a 34th All-Ireland title against Galway.
Hogan, who led the Cats to All-Ireland glory in 2011, told RTÉ’s Brian Carthy that the win over Tipperary in the semi-final was very pleasing, and also admitted that he was not aware of the controversial tactical battle that was in progress around him.
“To be honest I did not pay too much heed to it. I missed a lot of it and did not realise what was going on," Hogan said.
"I obviously realised something was happening from the crowd, but I was just focused on the guy I was marking, who tended to be either John O’Brien or ‘Bonner’ Maher.
“They were switching fairly regularly so I was concentrating on marking them, rather than what was going on around the field.”
The O'Loughlin Gaels' clubman paid tribute to the Kilkenny forwards’ display during the 18-point hammering of their arch-rivals, but is aware that they will have to up their game for Galway.
“Galway are an excellent side. You only have to look down through their team and see the set of forwards they have" -Brian Hogan
“The lads were super all over the field. As backs it’s our jobs to stop the scores going in, but TJ (Reid), Taggy (Aidan Fogarty) and all the forwards were outstanding.
“It was hugely pleasing that we put in a decent team performance, but we are under no illusions that we will have to raise it another notch or two for the All-Ireland final.”
Hogan also admitted that Galway will provide a stern test, with the Tribesmen’s attacking unti especially providing a huge threat.
“Galway are an excellent side. You only have to look down through their team and see the set of forwards they have. They have everything from speed, mobility, a target man, they can get goals and points from all over the field. They offer a huge threat to anyone.
“I suppose, ultimately, we can only control ourselves and get our own game right, and that’s what we’ll do. We are just going to focus in on our own performance and bring that performance to the All-Ireland final.”
“Hopefully that will be enough.”