Failure not an option for Conor Fogarty
By John Harrington
Kilkenny hurler Conor Fogarty is a four-time All-Ireland winner, which is probably why he regards any season that doesn’t end with him having a Celtic Cross in his back pocket as a bad one.
He certainly isn’t buying the line some commentators have spun that Kilkenny did well in 2018 for a young hurling team in transition.
“No, I wouldn't (agree with that)”, said the powerful midfielder. “You have one target every year and what other people out there think doesn't really concern us. We believe in our ability and that we're good enough to beat any team if we turn up on any given day.
“We always back ourselves, that's the way it's always been in Kilkenny. This year was no different.
“We have some great young lads coming through which are as good as what's out there. We've always backed ourselves, we've always given ourselves a chance. It's just unfortunate that this year we fell just short.
“After a very good League campaign, we were very disappointed not to push on further in the Championship.
“We came up short against a very good Limerick team on the day. They obviously went on and won the All-Ireland Final which shows us that we were close to the mark.
“But, you know, huge disappointment not to win an All-Ireland. That's why you train all year, that's where you want to get to. You want to play All-Ireland Finals and you want to be winning them.”
Fogarty’s competitive instincts means he’s approaching Sunday’s Wild Goose Trophy clash with Galway in Sydney in a determined frame of mind.
Their defeat to the same opposition in the Leinster Final replay stung, and the rivalry between the two teams is a keen one.
“Yeah, there's always that bit of bite there, and rightly so,” said Fogarty. “We're after traveling across the world to play this match and you're not going to take it too light-heartedly.
“I'm really looking forward to it, just a chance to play a match in a different country. Even tomorrow to go out and train and get back with the lads, I'm looking forward to that too.
“Once you're beaten and knocked out of the Championship you miss the whole scene. You miss going in training, you miss playing matches.
“Just really, really looking forward to getting back out onto the pitch on Sunday.”
The Kilkenny camp are viewing the Wild Geese Trophy as the first match of the 2019 season rather than the last one of the 2018 campaign.
They’re determined to put their best foot forward on what Murphy hopes will be a journey that ends with a Championship crescendo next year.
“Hopefully, that's the plan, anyway,” he said. “We'll go away and we'll work hard again once we get back to Ireland and then take it from there.
“We know we have to improve. We have to get back up to the standard of the likes of Galway, Limerick and these lads.
“But I do think we are good enough. We'll see what happens.”