Kilkenny will have to play at the top of their game to beat Limerick and make it back to the All-Ireland final, Diarmuid Lyng has claimed.
Speaking on OTB AM on Friday morning, Lyng thinks the current crop of Kilkenny players are no comparison to previous iterations but they deserve to be in the semi-final.
“Kilkenny are there because they have a standard set out and every day they reach it.
“With Kilkenny, there’s an automatic comparison to the way things were five or six years ago.
“Whereas they don’t have the [same] standard of player, they certainly do have that same honesty and genuineness,” the former Wexford captain said.
Lyng believes that same honesty and genuineness is the reason why The Cats made it this far and will give them a chance if Limerick don’t match it.
“If the other team doesn't meet that head-on [...] if that genuineness meets something that isn’t at its best, I think it’s just going to win all day,” he said.
With Limerick’s backs being better than Cork’s, they won’t give up as much space to Richie Hogan and TJ Reid as they enjoyed in the quarter-final.
If that happens, Lyng thinks Kilkenny could struggle as they did in the Leinster final against Wexford.
“They’re definitely not going to. Limerick will be closing them down at an intensity level that I’m just not sure.
“They didn’t like it when Wexford did it and this will be Wexford up a gear, unquestionably, if not two. They’re definitely going to struggle with that,” he explained.
If Limerick continue to improve and play at their level, they will reach a second consecutive All-Ireland final according to Lyng.
“[Kilkenny are] being met with their own honesty and intensity and they’re also being met with a higher skill level and higher capability.
“I don’t think Kilkenny can beat Limerick if Limerick perform,” he admitted.
This Limerick team have, vitally, learned how to win and there is confidence now that they can get the job done in high-pressure games.
“There isn’t a question of them [Limerick] having a pedigree where they might not be able to get over the line in the same way as 1994 or 1996 or back the years when Limerick threw away almost certain All-Irelands,” Lyng said.