Fennelly injury rocks Kilkenny on eve of Galway semi
A back spasm suffered in training last night has ruled Kilkenny centre-forward Michael Fennelly out of tomorrow's Leinster hurling semi-final against Galway.
The Ballyhale star and 2011 Hurler of the Year pulled up last night and is not being risked this weekend.
This is not the first time Fennelly has had a problem with his back but a team spokesman said last night that they do not think it is anything long-term and his withdrawal is precautionary.
He was due to line out at centre-forward tomorrow and that spot now goes to on-fire Mark Kelly, the O'Loughlin Gaels newcomer who had made the full-forward spot his own this season.
Henry Shefflin, who missed their five-goal romp past Offaly, is back but on the bench.
TJ Reid, who was man of the match the last day but was also injured in the process, has been passed fit to start and the Cats have two changes to their starters. Kieran Joyce comes in at wing-back and Padraig Walsh switches to midfield to partner Richie Hogan, with Lester Ryan losing out.
Fennelly's enforced late withdrawal sees Richie Power return to the starting 15 after missing out with a hamstring the last day and he starts at full-forward with Kelly switching to No 11.
Galway have made two changes in personnel to the side that were pushed hard by Laois. Andy Smith comes back in at midfield, allowing Johnny Coen to go back to defence. Aidan Harte loses out in the reshuffle. Joe Canning has been given the No 14 shirt and Jason Flynn replaces Johnny Glynn in the full-forward line.
Kilkenny (SH v Galway): E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, B Kennedy; K Joyce, J Tyrrell, C Buckley; P Walsh, R Hogan; W Walsh, M Kelly, TJ Reid; C Fennelly, R Power, E Larkin.
Galway: C Callanan; F Moore, R Burke, D Collins; Daithi Burke, I Tannian, J Coen; A Smith, P Brehony; David Burke, N Burke, C Cooney; C Mannion, J Canning, J Flynn.