Kilkenny could do with a well needed boost heading in to the championship coming off the back of a sub-standard league campaign this Spring.
However, according to Brian Cody, this boost does not look like coming anytime soon in the shape of their midfield powerhouse, Michael Fennelly.
Fennelly tore his achilles tendon playing against Waterford in last year’s All Ireland semi-final replay in Thurles. The Ballyhale Shamrocks star consequently missed out on the All-Ireland final and has been out of action since, requiring surgery on his tendon to heal the rupture. He has been following a strict rehab programme in an effort to return to the field of play for the Cats.
Recent showings from Kilkenny really suggest how much they miss the 2011 Hurler of the Year around the middle of the park. His dominance has been lacking throughout this league, with the Noresiders finishing only a point above a berth in the relegation play-off, losing as many games as they won and eventually succumbing to Wexford in the quarter-final.
With Cody’s troops proving to be over reliant on the likes of TJ Reid and Richie Hogan to carry the scoring burden so far this season, it is fair to assume the sooner Fennelly can recover and return, the better for them. The Cats boss is urging their fans not to hold their breath.
Speaking to the Kilkenny People, the 11-time All-Ireland winning manager said of Fennelly’s comeback:
“He’s a long way away from playing. I honestly have no idea.
“He’s a long way because he’s coming back from a serious surgical procedure as a result of a serious injury.
“He’s in rehab at the moment working really hard. The time scale? There is none.”
Make sure to tune into the latest episode of the 16th Man podcast, where we discuss the legacy of Colm Cooper.