GAELIC GAMES: Kilkenny Crowned Kings While Tyrone Make All-Ireland History: DJ & HIS CATS ARE COOLEST AROUND
Byline: Jackie Cahill
CAN Kilkenny's all-conquering hurlers be stopped in 2004? It's a tough ask for the rest of the game's top sides after a remarkable season for the black and amber wonders.
All-Ireland senior, Under 21 and minor hurling championships points towards utter dominance of the hurling scene in 2003. And it was just that, utter dominance. Already Kilkenny are 5/4 favourites to retain the Liam McCarthy Cup they held onto back in September.
When DJ Carey hoisted the famous old trophy skywards, Kilkenny had become the first side since the Ollie Walsh vintage of 1993 to retain the All-Ireland title. And the current crop bridged a 20-year gap to the last Kilkenny team to do the 'double-double'.
Brian Cody was a player in 1982 and 1983, now he's the manager and he's one man who doesn't shy away from the big decisions.
Charlie Carter was handed the team captaincy at the start of the year after Young Irelands won the county championship but with the championship in it's infancy, Charlie was out of the sight, out of mind and off the panel.
When it came down to a power struggle between Charlie and Cody, there was only one winner.
The Cats showed real six appeal in Leinster by recording a sixth successive provincial crown - never done before.
Adding the Liam McCarthy Cup and unearthing stars like James Ryall and Tommy Walsh was further icing on the cake.
Cork had the All-Ireland final in their grasp with 15 minutes to go but Kilkenny had been down that road before and avenged the 1999 final defeat against the same opposition with a late flourish.
It appears that the Rebels are best placed to challenge Kilkenny in 2004 but how badly will Setanta O'hAilpin's shock move to Australia affect them? …