Kilkenny have been dealt a blow to their 2018 season preparations with the news that former Hurler Of The Year Michael Fennelly has retired from inter-county hurling.
The Ballyhale Shamrocks club hurler has announced his retirement from the black and amber at 32-years-old.
During his 12-year tenure with Kilkenny the midfield powerhouse won an incredible eight All-Irelands including when he captained the side to glory in 2009, three All-Stars and was crowned Hurler Of The Year in 2011.
— Michael Fennelly (@MFennellyKK) December 29, 2017
In a statement, Fennelly thanked his manager Brian Cody and selectors Mick Dempsey, Derek Lyng, James McGarry and Martin Fogarty before wishing new captain Cillian Buckley and the Kilkenny panel the best for 2018 and beyond.
The retirement of Fennelly marks the passing of the guard in Kilkenny and signals a change in identity of the panel under Cody, with a new emphasis on youth sure to be explored in the national league come spring time. Fennelly has been lining out for the Cats since 2006 and was a stalwart alongside the older brigade of Kilkenny legends such as Henry Shefflin, Tommy Walsh, Richie Power, etc.
He cited a buildup of injuries as a reason for his announcement in a statement:
“I would like to announce my retirement from inter-county hurling with Kilkenny. I have mentioned on a few occasions in the past “how your mind can get your body to go to certain places” but I feel my body has surpassed its limits at this time.”
There is no doubting that injuries have taken their toll on the 32-year-old throughout his career, with a torn Achilles’ tendon in 2016 requiring surgery and a lengthy rehab program ensuing effectively putting heed to any strong impact he could have on his last season with the Cats.
He departs the inter-county scene with his name safely secured as a Kilkenny legend and unquestionably one of the finest hurlers of the modern era.