Saturday 3 December 2016

Colin Fennelly 'disappointed' by 'weird' Ger Loughnane comments on Kilkenny

Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30

Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly in Croke Park at the launch of the Etihad Airways GAA World Games. Photot: Ray McManus / Sportsfile
Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly in Croke Park at the launch of the Etihad Airways GAA World Games. Photot: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Kilkenny star Colin Fennelly admitted his "disappointment" with double All-Ireland-winning manager Ger Loughnane's comments that there is "no way" the current Cats team should be trying to win a third successive All-Ireland in 2016.

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Former Clare boss Loughnane claimed that apart from their "one-off, totally exceptional" manager Brian Cody the current Kilkenny side were "functional."

"A team with that talent should not be winning an All-Ireland," Loughnane commented.

Former All-Star Fennelly hit back at Loughnane's comments, insisting Kilkenny's winning records at the various grades of hurling speak for themselves.

"I don't bother reading anything too much into things," said the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman.

"I thought it was weird what he said, (I was) probably more disappointed with what he said. I think, what was it, that we shouldn't have won the last two All-Irelands?

"It's weird because in 2014, there's four competitions there to be won and we won all four of them.

Competitions

"It's very unusual for a team to do that. You have to win so many games to win all four trophies. A team doesn't simply like ... it's not pure luck that you win all those competitions or all those games.

"I don't know, is Ger out of the game so long, that he doesn't realise all the hard work that you put into winning.

"Last year as well you had a club team winning an All-Ireland and the county team winning, that's unusual again and just shows the strength-in-depth in the county to do what we've done and do it both years."

Loughnane also suggested that the Cats were reliant on TJ Reid and Richie Hogan for scores but Fennelly pointed to their haul of 6-20 against Offaly last weekend - which they racked up without that pair - as evidence of the depth of talent in the panel.

"It just goes to show that what he said means absolutely nothing," Fennelly said at the launch of the Etihad Airways GAA World Games which will see 87 teams from 20 different countries compete at UCD's Belfield campus from August 7-14.

"It doesn't faze us as at all. Every team will have lads that are sharpshooters. TJ is a sharpshooter, there's no doubt about that and other lads are work horses.

"They'll get the ball, like, Conor Fogarty, probably one of the most underrated players.

"He's no doubt one of our best players, the work he goes through in a match, nobody really sees it; the same with Eoin Larkin, Wally Walsh, the work that these lads do is absolutely outrageous."

"A lot of young lads are coming in too. It's probably in training where they really step things up and you realise how tough it is.

"I didn't see too much of him last year but this he's flying around the place. You wonder are they able to do it in matches? But then Kevin Kelly, straight in and on frees and put them all over no bother.

"I was kind of surprised myself, I only realised after the game that he slotted them all over, on a wet day. (Liam) Blanchfield as well, he scored (1-3) in the game. You don't do that on your debut. I didn't anyway!"

Fennelly picked up a hamstring strain in the win over Offaly but hopes to be fit for the NHL league semi-final clash with Clare in Semple Stadium on Sunday week.

However, his brother Michael's injury woes continued after he was forced off early in the Offaly game though Colin has no doubt he'll play a major part for the Cats this term.

"The amazing thing about it is the slightest thing could adjust his back and set him back two weeks and it's just an awkward one for him.

"He keeps up his fitness on the side of the field, does all his own running and all that, stays out of most of the matches. Does all his own ball work in the alley as well. He's doing his own thing now in the last few weeks alright."

"It's good for him the way he's able to keep focused and keep himself up to match practice because he was unbelievable again the other day when he was playing for the 20 minutes."

Irish Independent

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