Fennelly was coming into terrific form - Cody
Michael Fennelly was enjoying one of his finest seasons when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury in the replay against Waterford, Kilkenny manager Brian Cody has reflected.
Cody stopped short of saying the powerfully-built midfielder was irreplaceable but was in no doubt at yesterday's All-Ireland final press evening about the influence he has exerted and feels his replacement can't fulfil the same role.
Fennelly underwent an operation earlier this week and will be out of action for up to eight months.
"It's a huge blow for any guy involved in sport. The biggest game of the year and he can't play in it," said Cody.
"Obviously he's had a huge influence in us getting to the final. No about that. He has it all.
"He's been a huge influence for us for a long, long time now. He's put massive work in to it.
"He works on it every year and it hasn't always been easy for him from an injury point of view. This year, he has gotten a better run at it.
"He got a decent bit of work done early on in the year in the whole area of conditioning and physical preparation.
"He was coming into terrific form. The last day he was outstanding."
Cody says Kilkenny have to quickly consign the blow of losing Fennelly to the past.
"From a preparation point of view, it happened in the past," he explained. "We always talk about our panel and we have massive confidence in our panel.
"Michael Fennelly won't be playing but the fella who comes in in his place won't be expected to be Michael Fennelly. Just come in and do his job for the team."
Cody reported no other injury concerns ahead of the final against Tipperary.
Read more: Fennelly aims for another miracle recovery