Cats honour Hogan with captaincy
Brian Hogan has been given a major boost since O'Loughlin Gaels' All-Ireland club final disappointment after being installed as Kilkenny captain for the season.
The county champions nominated him for the prestigious position and he rejoined county training earlier this week.
He's expected to be thrown straight back into the deep end by lining out at centre-back against Waterford in Sunday's big Allianz League clash at Nowlan Park.
It will be Hogan's first appearance for the county since last year's All-Ireland semi-final, as a shoulder injury meant he missed the Cats' subsequent final loss to Tipperary.
"There won't be time to catch my breath, but that is the way of sport, the club have bestowed a great honour on me," Hogan said of his return to county action. "The rest of the league programme is going to be really testing, no matter what way it goes, with Dublin away our next game after this weekend.
"The hope in Kilkenny is that we can get to the final, but there is no room for error because things are so tight. That sort of thing can crush you or make you, but we are all looking forward to the challenge."
Kilkenny are currently joint second on the table with Galway, one point behind Dublin and one point clear of Waterford, so Sunday's game could be pivotal.
Hogan becomes the third O'Loughlin's man, behind the Comerford brothers, Andy and Martin, to skipper the Kilkenny seniors.
Opponents Waterford have lost a key man, Maurice Shanahan, ahead of Sunday's clash. The rising Lismore star broke a finger in training earlier this week, which is expected to keep him out for a month.
It's a particularly untimely injury because, with the retirement of his brother Dan and Ken McGrath, the 20-year-old has become a key ball-winner for Waterford this season, especially when operating around half-forward.