Kilkenny legend, Michael Fennelly, has admitted that he has “little time left” in his hurling career as he celebrates yet another All Ireland club title for Ballyhale Shamrocks.
The 34-year-old captained his side to a stunning 2-28 to 2-11 win over St Thomas’ of Galway in the AIB Senior Hurling Club final last Sunday in Croke Park, a seventh title for Ballyhale and Fennelly’s fourth at club level.
The eight-time All Ireland winner with Kilkenny announced his inter-county retirement in December 2017 and following Sunday’s win, Fennelly admitted that he will be taking time out to consider his future with the club while his teammates prepare to return to the pitch for the county league in a matter of weeks.
“Them games will be helter-skelter again but the boys can worry about that in a couple of weeks. I’ll be taking serious time out now and I’ll weigh up things in a few months. My body has been just getting through games.”
Aware that he is in the twilight stage of his career, Fennelly was all the more delighted to lift the Tommy Moore Cup on Sunday.
“You cherish every game at this stage and that’s the way I’ve been this year, every game has been nearly a bonus with injuries and all that, I’ve been trying to mind myself as much as possible.
“I’ve little time left and I’m very, very aware of that and that’s why you empty the tank every time.
“2015 was the last time we were in Croke Park. 2016, 2017 didn’t go particularly well for us and thankfully, last year just about went well for us, we got through it. The All Ireland stages go on a different road altogether and we had a lot of the younger lads there with us for the first time and they were loving it and really thriving off it.”
Fennelly is confident that those young lads will carry the club long after his generation has departed but was careful not to talk them up too much – as is the Kilkenny way.
“They’re coming up but I wouldn’t be blowing them up or anything because there’s a lovely mix of youth and old there and that’s what’s really important. When you have players there of strength and size too, you can give out more breaking ball and more passes.
“They’re nice hurlers, they’ve a good attitude and hopefully, we might see one or two of them breaking onto the Kilkenny team this year or get a run at certain stages.”