Congratulations go to Kilkenny – All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championships

Kilkenny is the most successful county to ever play in the game of hurling.

The County Senior team has won the All-Ireland Championship a record 33 times (as of 2011) and has won the provincial Leinster Senior Championship on 67 occasions (as of 2011).

Kilkenny have won the All-Ireland Senior Hurling title a record 33 times, in 1904, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1922, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1939, 1947, 1957, 1963, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and now again in 2011.

While there is a rich history of success in the championship, recognition must also go to the team manager Brian Cody, arguably the most successful manager in the modern era, with an infamous never say die attitude.

During 1999, his first year as manager, Brian Cody helmed Kilkenny to their second consecutive Leinster title and a second consecutive All-Ireland final appearance; unfortunately in poor weather conditions, Kilkenny were denied.  In 2000 Cody eased Kilkenny to yet another Leinster title and a third successive All-Ireland Senior final.

Fear of being the first side to lose three successive senior championship deciders was a significant motivating factor for all involved.  Kilkenny beat Offaly taking the title.  In 2001 a further Leinster Seniors title was added to their collection.

In 2003 Kilkenny completed what is called ‘the double-double’ as they achieved back-to-back League, Leinster and All-Ireland honours.  In 2004 Kilkenny were intending to capture an elusive third consecutive All-Ireland title.  Hopes of such glory were dashed in the Leinster championship when Wexford GAA brought Kilkenny’s provincial championship run of success to an end.  ‘The Cats’ later reached the All-Ireland final; however, Cork pounced and defeated their arch-rivals.

2005 started well with Cody’s side winning National League and Leinster honours, however, their season ended with a defeat by Galway GAA in the All-Ireland semi-final.  In 2006 Kilkenny retained their National League and Leinster titles before reaching the championship decider yet again.  Cork again provided their opposition; however, victory went to a superior Kilkenny side.

In 2007 ‘the Cats’ won an unprecedented ninth Leinster title from ten campaigns.  They later reached the All-Ireland final where they defeated Limerick GAA to win their thirtieth championship title.  In 2008 they won the Leinster title before defeating Waterford in the All-Ireland final.  This team has been called the best team ever to play the sport.

During 2009, Kilkenny’s dominance was lessened and it was suggested that they were entering a decline. They saw off an emerging Dublin side in the Leinster final thanks to two goals from Martin Comerford.  Nevertheless, they reached the final and secured a four-in-a-row with a five point win over old rivals, Tipperary who mounted a formidable challenge to their crown in an absorbing final which made up for the mis-matches of the two previous years when only token resistance was presented by Limerick and Waterford.  Kilkenny became the first team since Cork in the 1940s to do the four in a row.

In the past ten all Ireland finals, Kilkenny has won 7, Cork 2 and Tipperary 1. This is an unequalled run of success for a county in either hurling or Gaelic football.  Brian Cody is tied with Monsignor Maher Tommy Maher on 7 All Ireland hurling title wins as manager. The distinguishing feature is the speed with which Brian Cody has clocked up his 7 successes. In 2010, Kilkenny defeated Galway to claim their twelfth Leinster title. They later reached the All-Ireland final where they faced last year’s opponents Tipperary however, it was a lot more different then last year as Kilkenny suffered their first defeat in the hurling championship in five years as Tipperary ran out winners 4–17 to 1–18 which Kilkenny never lead at all in the game. It was also Kilkenny’s 3rd defeat in an All-Ireland final under Cody.