Fennelly the latest Cat in fitness battle

Fennelly the latest Cat in fitness battle

Former All-Ireland winning captain Michael Fennelly is the latest Kilkenny player who is in a battle for fitness ahead of their Leinster SHC semi-final against Laois, Carlow or Dublin on June 23.

He picked up an ankle injury during yesterday's demolition of Cork in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 decider at Semple Stadium.

The Hurler of the Year was stretchered off in the 42nd minute with manager Brian Cody stating afterwards: "We don't know yet (how serious it is), he went over on his ankle.

"How bad it is I don't know - to go off straight away without trying it suggests it's not too good, but hopefully it won't be too serious.

"JJ (Delaney) had a dead leg at half-time that swelled up badly and he wasn't able to continue."

It is the latest in a series of recent injuries for Kilkenny. Influential forward Richie Power was among those unable to train in the lead-up to yesterday's final.

However, it was a chance for the Cats' young guns to shine and inexperienced players at senior level like Richie Doyle and Cillian Buckley made the step up yesterday.

"If we were weak in any position we'd have been punished, and we were decent throughout the field," added Cody.

"Everybody dug in. Nobody has to do anything fantastic, everybody just has to do their job for the team, so we were happy with that.

"It was a good performance. I'm not trying to underplay it or overplay it, we went out and had a huge challenge.

"Cork were fancied by many people, understandably so, and the last day they were better than us. We went out to try to take on the challenge and we did so, and we're happy."

Kilkenny led by 14 points at half-time, but Cody paid tribute to his side for keeping their focus in the second half as they held out to claim their county's 15th Division 1 title and the sixth of Cody's managerial reign.

"There's no final whistle at half-time. You have to keep going, and it's an easy thing to do, and if you do then a team like Cork will punish you for it. It was important to keep our focus and to keep strong and to keep going."

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