Cats reshuffle rearguard for derby duel with Waterford
KILKENNY have radically reshaped their team for tomorrow's big Allianz Hurling League Division 1 NHL clash with Waterford at Nowlan Park.
After conceding 4-14 when losing to Galway last day out, Brian Cody has beefed up his defence with a lot of experience, bringing Michael Kavanagh and Noel Hickey into the full-back line, while Brian Hogan returns from club duty with O'Loughlins to captain them at centre-back in place of Jackie Tyrrell.
Eoin Larkin and James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick form a new midfield partnership, while Aidan Fogarty and John Mulhall replace TJ Reid and Eoin Guinan in the forwards.
Galway have made two changes for their top-of-the-table clash with unbeaten Dublin. Iarla Tannian, the man-of-the-match against Kilkenny, is away at a wedding in America and replaced at full-forward by Joseph Cooney, who is just back after suffering a broken thumb.
In defence, captain Damien Joyce makes his first appearance of the league, replacing Gerard O'Halloran at corner-back.
The Dubs corner-back Peter Kelly has escaped suspension after the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) decided the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) should not have upgraded the yellow card he got against Offaly.
The Lucan defender's successful appeal means he's free to play in the clash with Galway, though he may not yet make it as he faces a late fitness test on a shoulder injury.
However, the CHC upheld the recent suspensions of Meath footballer Terry Scully (four weeks) and Armagh hurler Ryan Gaffney (eight weeks).
Meanwhile, Croke Park and the Gaelic Players Association have jointly intervened in the row that is threatening to split Fermanagh football.
The new disputes resolution protocol that exists under the recent GPA/GAA recognition agreement was activated for the first time to facilitate a meeting between officers of the Fermanagh executive and a number of players who have recently withdrawn from the senior panel.
It is believed that up to 10 players have left John O'Neill's squad, including last year's captain James Sherry, and that at least four players submitted a letter to the county board outlining their grievances.
A number of issues, including cutbacks to the team's support system, have unsettled the players and when Fermanagh lost to Leitrim a week ago, leaving only Kilkenny and London below them in Division 4, things took a turn for the worst.
Fermanagh play Kilkenny today, and in the statement it said a full report on the meeting will be discussed by the county management committee on Monday.