Injury crisis deepens for Kilkenny as Fennelly is ruled out
Kilkenny may have claimed their 15th League title in impressive fashion on Sunday but it came at a very high price, a serious injury to Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly.
Sometimes the sporting gods just aren’t with you. Injuries can decimate good teams, leaving them underpowered and vulnerable. In the US right now, the Chicago Bulls, one of the best teams in the NBA, are about to go out of the play-offs thanks to some very badly timed injuries to their best players.
In football, we have seen Spain lose Carles Puyol for the Euros while David Villa also looks like a long shot to make the trip to Poland, weakening their latest bid for glory. And while the Kilkenny hurlers have more depth than most to cope with injuries, at some point it has to take its toll.
Already shorn of Henry Shefflin and Richie Power in the short term, the knock picked up by reigning Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly in the annihilation of Cork on Sunday has proven to be more serious than Brian Cody would like.
According to a report in the Irish Independent today, the Ballyhale man has fractured a bone in his ankle and the ligament damage will take 10 weeks to heal. That means that the midfielder will miss the entire Leinster Championship and potentially some qualifiers and an All-Ireland quarter-final if things go badly for the Cats and they somehow lose their provincial crown.
Kilkenny have enough strength and depth to cover Fennelly but the loss of a hurler of his class, especially in the later stages of the summer, could really hurt.
It also means that the race to get the other crocked Cats back on the field (Henry Shefflin, Richie Power, Michael Rice, Aidan Fogarty) becomes more pressing. We still think Kilkenny are a cut above the rest, and they certainly looked it on Sunday against Cork, but this latest blow has to have Cody losing a little sleep.
There was one bit of good news for Cats fans regarding JJ Delaney. The talented full-back didn’t emerge for the second half of the Cork mauling but it has been reported that he has only suffered a dead leg and he should be back protecting the square in a couple of weeks.