BRIAN CODY INSISTED last night that nothing short of an All-Ireland win will do for Kilkenny.
The Cats strolled to a 12-point victory over Dublin in Croke Park, collecting the Leinster title for an unprecedented 13th time under Cody.
Now they are just 70 minutes away from another All-Ireland final and that prize, rather than their latest provincial honour, is the standard by which they will measure success.
“I don’t see years as peak years,” Cody said when asked if Kilkenny are back to their best. “I don’t see it that way at all.
“A peak year is when you win an All-Ireland final and regardless of what people think, that is the objective for everyone.
We were a long way from it last year and it’s a huge challenge. We are just working away diligently. We have good competition for places and good fluency as regards which team we put out.
An excellent performance limited Dublin to just 1-9 which, in the words of manager Anthony Daly, “wouldn’t win you a minor match.”
At the other end TJ Reid continued his fine summer with 0-10 (two from play) while Colin Fennelly and Henry Shefflin contributed three points apiece from play.
“It was a convincing margin in the end but we were tested and tested several times in the game,” Cody said.
“We got a nice few points early but the loss of [Colm Cronin's] goal pulled them back.
It was serious hurling. For periods in second half we were under lots of pressure but defended very strongly. Our work rate was very strong, and we weathered the storm and finished strongly.
He added: “The fact we are Leinster champions is something we feel is worthwhile to try to do, and also gets you to a semi-final which is good.
“We’ve a five week wait for that and there’s a lot of hurling to be played in the meantime before we find out who we play, but it’s a nice place to be.”