Hickey thrilled to end injury nightmare
KILKENNY full-back Noel Hickey believes he has put his injury nightmare behind him, after making his first championship appearance since the 2008 All-Ireland final win over Waterford.
The Dunnamaggin clubman -- who suffered from knee, back and groin injuries -- returned to Brian Cody's side for Sunday's Leinster semi-final win over Dublin and helped the Cats to a sixth successive Leinster final.
"I suppose last year was a bit of a disaster, with one thing after another and injuries just dragging on all year," said Hickey yesterday at the launch of a marketing campaign in Dublin by hurling sponsors Guinness.
"I didn't really get a good clean run of it, but it was grand this year. I've been able to train all the time after the holidays and trained all spring. It's great to get back in the team and get going again in Croke Park."
Kilkenny led Dublin by five points at half-time, but they blew Anthony Daly's men away after the restart, with Hickey surprised to be so far ahead of the Dubs at the final whistle.
"We were expecting a big challenge off Dublin. I suppose they were a bit like us, in that their league form wasn't great. They had a championship match under their belt, though, which is a big help," added Hickey.
"We were expecting a big challenge out of them and in the first half it kind of worked out that way. I suppose we weren't hurling well in the first half either, but in the second half we got a couple of goals and we kicked on from there.
"I would imagine Dublin are fairly disappointed alright with the way it worked out."