Kelly set to miss Kerry duty as club comes first

Kerry must do without Clare native Patrick Kelly for Saturday’s Christy Ring Cup semi-final as the game clashes with his club Clarecastle’s championship game against Clonlara.

The rulebook states the club has first call on the player in such situations and so defender Kelly, a 2013 All-Ireland medalist, will be in Shannon at 1pm on Saturday, while Kerry face Kildare in Newbridge an hour later.

It’s the second time in as many months Kerry have had to make do without one of their assimilated players after goalkeeper, Tipperary man James Logue, missed their league relegation/play-off match with Antrim as the game conflicted with his Ballingarry club’s championship match against Boherlahan-Dualla.

Kerry manager Eamonn Kelly rued: “Unfortunately, he’s not available. Because of the draw between Kildare and London, it put everything back a week. The semi-final was due to be played last weekend but now it’s clashing with the Clare championship. We were keeping our fingers crossed for a draw (between Clare and Limerick) in Thurles last Sunday but it didn’t happen.

“That is the difficulty with the guys because obviously they have to give preference to their clubs. It’s going to be a huge task for us now because Kildare have come on leaps and bounds since last year and I don’t know where we are at.”

Kelly is wary that Kildare are following the same path as they did last year when they went onto win the competition. “They’ve played four weeks of competitive hurling. They’re gaining momentum. I saw them against Meath in Trim last weekend and they were absolutely flying. They’re physically stronger than they were last year and they’re hurling with a lot more confidence.”

Kelly is hoping a few small injuries clear up before the trip to St Conleth’s Park. “Some of the lads had to play senior football championship football last weekend and we’ve a few with knocks.”

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