By Cóilín Duffy
Kilkenny boss Brian Cody was delighted his side qualified for their 14th All-Ireland final during his 17-year reign, but doubts still remain over the availability of Jackie Tyrrell and Richie Power for the showpiece decider on September 6th.
Tyrrell and Power both missed Sunday's South East semi-final derby, and Cody says he will know more about the duo in the coming days.
“Jackie is seeing a specialist on Tuesday - we will know more then," he said.
“Until then, he is a wait and see job. We’re all hopeful!"
With a month until the decider, the Cats manager is hopeful that the James Stephens clubman may be able to turn things around.
"There’s what, four weeks till the final? Certainly we’re hoping he’ll be back in contention."
Cody added: “Richie has put in a huge amount of work. He’s working very hard and he is progressing.
“There’s club matches next weekend and we’re hoping that Richie will be able to get back into training but that remains to be seen.”
On, on the pitch matters, Cody was high in his praise for Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan, and former Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly, who both played through the pain barrier in this Kilkenny win.
Danesfort clubman Hogan bagged five points from play, while a picture posted by him on social media afterwards, showed that the hard yards were certainly put in, suffering blisters on his feet.
Hogan received multiple painkilling injections in the past seven days, to be available for this match.
“On Wednesday, things didn’t look well for him at all really,” Cody revealed.
“I think it is really a huge testament to the sort of fella he is and the character he showed.
“He just put his head down and he just wanted to get himself right and the attitude he showed was top class also.
“The expertise of our medical team was absolutely crucial. It was a serious, serious position we were in a few days ago.
“Michael Fennelly has had problems for a long, long time. Essentially the last game was played was against Wexford, which was a long time ago now.
“He really didn’t take part in hurling training, at all, to be honest about it.
“And to have played and give the performance he did tells a fair story really.”