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Kavanagh and Ryall call time on Cats career

TWO of Kilkenny's longest serving hurlers, Michael Kavanagh and James Ryall, have decided to bring their top-level careers to a close while the oldest hurler of them all - Waterford's Tony Browne - has also brought a close to his intercounty activity.

Neither Kavanagh nor Ryall played any part in last Sunday's All-Ireland final defeat to Tipperary though Kavanagh was an ever-present at corner-back through Kilkenny's epic four All-Irelands-in-a-row between 2006 and 2009 and with seven All-Ireland medals, is one of hurling's most decorated players.

Ryall hasn't started a championship match since the All-Ireland final victory over Cork in 2006 though he did feature as a substitute this year and brings the curtain down on his Kilkenny days in possession of six Celtic Crosses.

In Waterford, meanwhile, Browne's decision to stand down from Déise service will come as no surprise after completing his 19 championship season this year. The 37 year-old played a central role in Waterford's Munster championship success this year despite missing most of the early part of the season, the third provincial success of his career.

Browne follows Dan Shanahan into retirement while there is also strong speculation that Ken McGrath will take the same route while Eoin Kelly has already cast doubts about his continued participation with Waterford.

FORMER Cork hurling boss, Donal O'Grady, has quashed rumours that he has been lined up to take the Limerick hurling manager's job.

O'Grady's future was the subject of frantic speculation last weekend with talk of him succeeding Justin McCarthy on Shannonside doing the rounds on All-Ireland final weekend.

However, the former Cork All-Ireland winning manager has distanced himself from the claim. "I haven't spoken to anyone in Limerick. And nobody has spoken to me. I'm aware of those rumours but that's all they are," said O'Grady.