Kilkenny's Michael Fennelly with Galway's Eanna Burke and Tipperary's Barry Heffernan at the launch of the Electric Ireland minor championships. Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Michael Fennelly on life without Kilkenny's stars on the pitch and the sideline

The Kilkenny midfielder also talks about returning to college to study a sports science Masters in UL.

KILKENNY GET SET for a repeat of last September’s All-Ireland hurling final when they face Galway in Thurles next Sunday.

The teams clash at the semi-final stage of the Division 1 hurling league in Semple Stadium but there’s going to be some familiar faces missing from the Cats hurling setup.

No Brian Cody on the sideline as he continues his recovery from pre-planned cardiac surgery.

No Henry Shefflin on the pitch as he continues his recovery from a foot injury.

And no TJ Reid in attack as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Here’s midfielder Michael Fennelly on life without his absent colleagues.

Brian Cody

“He is gone but he will back in a few weeks. It hasn’t taken an effect on training, to be honest. The older players are there with the experience so the responsibility is on ourselves to keep ticking over, to keep training and keep focused.

“We didn’t know much about it. It was a personal thing more than anything. Our other selectors, our backroom team are doing the job, it just goes on. There is no change at all.”

Henry Shefflin

“He is just going week by week, doing his recovery work, playing it week by week because it is a tricky injury with the foot. Hopefully things are going alright for him. I think her got the pins out recently and that went okay.

“The important thing  for him is to get himself right and obviously if he tries to plays when he is not right, he will only do more damage. He is a smart man and there is a good backroom team there. He is in his mid 30’s now and he is likely to mind himself more.”

TJ Reid

“He’s back running which is good. He had a serious injury as well with a crack in the knee cap. He has that ability and it was great to see it flourish last year. I’ve no doubt he’ll back 100% and flying soon enough.”

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Fennelly himself is currently nursing a hamstring injury which places his participation in next Sunday’s clash in doubt.

“It’s a hamstring injury. It’s a tear and I am just trying to get that right at the moment. It happened last week, so it might be another week or two. I am just playing it day by day at this stage and seeing how it is coming on. I might give it a test on Friday but I would say another week will tell.”

The Ballyhale Shamrocks club man is based in Limerick these days as he has returned to college to study in UL.

“I am doing a masters in sports science in UL. It’s a big change compared to the banking world but it is good. UL is a nice place and it is full of athletes, you have the rugby and boxers down there, so there is a nice atmosphere there.

“There is a lot of elements like strength and conditioning, nutrition and psychology. In the masters it’s about getting a piece of everything and I am still trying to find what I would like and what I want to focus on Cian O’Neill is one of the lecturers, Kerry’s strength and conditioning coach and he is a good guy as well.”

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