Kilkenny eased into a sixth straight All-Ireland hurling decider after a six point win over Waterford in Sunday’s Croke Park semi-final.
Champions Tipperary or Dublin are next for the Cats with striker Richie Hogan adamant that they are as hungry as ever to lift the McCarthy Cup.
“It’s our sixth final in a row which it fantastic but anytime you get to play in Croke Park in September is a special occasion. We’ll be preparing as much as we can for it,” said two goal hero Hogan.
“Throughout the whole year the goals have been coming to different players, it just happened to fall to me today. As forwards we just try to create a goal and whoever’s on the end of it is well able to finish it generally.”
Well beaten by Tipp in last year’s showpiece, Hogan insists it will be a different story this time around.
He added: “You never want to lose an All-Ireland final and it will be the same with Tipperary or Dublin, whoever we’re playing. Nobody wants to lose it, everybody wants to get there in the first place and when you’re there you don’t want to lose it obviously.
“At the end of the day you’re wearing Kilkenny jersey, you’re playing in Croke Park and it’s Championship hurling. You have to be hungry for it, if you weren’t hungry for it you wouldn’t be there.”
Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald admitted that he was ‘devastated’ by the loss to Kilkenny.
“A lot of people thought we were absolutely going to get massacred and annihilated here again today. I think we proved that point wrong,” said Fitzgerald.
“These guys hurt so badly after the Munster final. We all did. They stood up. They didn’t do the easy thing.
“They regrouped, and it shows fair character to come back. Listen, we were in that game today, we fought that game today, and I can tell you, Kilkenny know they were in a game today.
“From where we were four weeks ago, we’ve come a long way.”