Adrian Mullen eager to impress for Kilkenny
By Cian O’Connell
These are interesting and encouraging times for Adrian Mullen, who enjoyed a productive Leinster Championship debut for Kilkenny against Dublin at Nowlan Park last Saturday.
So impressive during Ballyhale Shamrocks’ AIB All Ireland Club triumph on St Patrick’s Day, Mullen has settled quickly into the inter-county arena.
Kilkenny’s spirited success over Dublin ensured it was a satisfactory start to the summer for Brian Cody’s charges, who now face Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park this Sunday.
With club colleagues TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly also part of the Kilkenny attack Mullen was delighted to contribute for the striped outfit.
“It is great to have the Ballyhale lads there, we formed a good partnership during the club campaign,” Mullen says.
“It is no different in county, you just want to stay doing the basics right. We just have a good bond together, we carried that on to last Saturday.”
Reid’s splendid display was critical with Mullen acknowledging the craft of Kilkenny’s talisman.
“TJ is unbelievable, to create a goal chance out of what didn't look like anything at that time, himself and Colin, just brilliant link up play,” Mullen states.
“They are doing that the whole time with Ballyhale. So I suppose they are well used to each other at this stage.
“TJ is a great leader as well, he would be talking away to you, so would Colin. I suppose we do know where each other is going to be, just know each others strengths and weaknesses.”
Injuries ravaged Kilkenny’s preparations, but the manner in which a string of newcomers fared augurs well for the future according to Mullen.
“It was a good sign that Tommy Walsh at corner back, Darren Brennan lads like that didn't look out of place,” Mullen remarks.
“That is a good sign, that we do have depth in the squad. I suppose people were writing us off a small bit, but we knew once we had 15 on the field we aren't missing anyone, that is all we talked about.”
The stakes were piled high against Dublin with Mullen acknowledging it was vital to put two points into the account early.
“Yeah it was a very important game for both of us really,’ Mullen reflects. “Thankfully we got the win and set us up nicely for the weekend going in against Carlow now. We just take that game as it comes now. Hopefully things go our way against Carlow as well.|
Mullen knows all about Carlow manager Colm Bonnar, who was in charge of Ballyhale Shamrocks when he made his senior debut as a teenager.
“The first year I played with Ballyhale, himself and Andy Moloney were over us, 2017,’ Mullen recalls. “He'll have them well tuned and up for this match and obviously in peak condition as well. So we're going to expect a lot from Carlow.”
Bonnar remains a well regarded figure in the Shamrocks club. “It just shows what kind of manager he is, the first year he came in, he won the All-Ireland so I suppose that speaks volumes about Colm as manager,” Mullen comments. “We know what he can bring to a team so we'll expect that.”