Under his stewardship Munster joined the elite of clubs in European rugby, became one of the most respected clubs sides in the world and have set a standard others now seek to emulate.
Kidney of course left the Munster scene to join the Ireland set-up and after what was seen as an unhappy tenure as assistant Ireland coach he returned to hands-on coaching, an area where he has few equals.
He would be the first to admit that fortune plays a part in whatever one achieves and he was probably fortunate that - after approaches from clubs that would have been wrong for him - that Gwent Dragons were an honourable group who readily agreed to release him after Leinster very belatedly realised they didn t have to go any further south than Cork to get themselves the right coach.
But fortune or good luck works both ways. He wasn t so much fortunate that he inherited a side that contained players of the calibre of Brian O Driscoll, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie, et al, rather they were fortunate they inherited a man whose coaching ability and man-management skills ensures that they now have the best ever chance of reaching their potential.
Ahead of Kidney and Leinster on Saturday lie perhaps their sternest test of the season. They ve won the games they should have won without anyone learning anything new about them. For example, the rugby world and his wife knows that Leinster have a backline that most international sides would pick, week in week out. That backline has pulled them out of the mire on more than one occasion. And when you have the best centre(s) in the world in your side, Heineken Cup or Celtic League games can be won even when they seem lost.
With Leinster it has always been thus but now Kidney has introduced a new dimension. A hard edge, a belief in themselves that was missing in the past. And on Saturday, Kidney will get a real good idea just how much belief, just how hard that edge there is in his Leinster side.
In coaching terms he will come up against his equal in the Aussie Alan Gaffney. Kidney s successor has managed to maintain the standard that Kidney set, maybe even surpass it. Since taking over from DK, Gaffney has won the Celtic League and maintained Munster s prominence (two successive semi-finals) in the Heineken Cup despite operating in more difficult circumstances than afforded Leinster in the same period.
When Kidney left to join up with Ireland, Munster spent little or no time looking around, they went for Gaffney. In contrast Leinster's dithering almost cost them. Time has vindicated Munster s decision. It may also vindicate Leinster's.
So on Saturday this pair will bring their unique styles to Musgrave Park, Gaffney up on the TV gantry alongside Brian Hickey, Kidney pacing the sidelines.
And if Leinster win, there will be no pleasure for Declan Kidney in seeing Munster beaten. Pleasure yes, that his side have achieved what they set out to achieve. Pleasure that they have performed to the best of their ability. That s all Kidney ever asks of his players. And he knows better than most that s what s required of them on Saturday. It has ever been thus.