Cody moves to play down injuries to Fennelly and Walsh as first-half blitz tears Carlow apart
Kilkenny 3-22 Carlow 1-14
If Brian Cody needed one thing outside of a win in Netwatch Cullen Park, it was likely a clean bill of health when they jumped back on the bus.
However, the injury problems that have stalked the Cats in recent weeks followed them to Carlow. First Colin Fennelly was forced off, then Walter Walsh didn't reappear after half-time.
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In addition, Kilkenny were forced to finish the game with 14 men because by the time midfielder Alan Murphy rolled his ankle, the Cats had used their full complement of subs.
Even if the Kilkenny manager insisted the injuries were on the less serious side, it's a headache he could surely have done without.
"Walter was precautionary really," said Cody. "He had a slight strain a week ago, but was passed fit to play no problem. It was just precautionary because there are club matches on Tuesday night so we took him off.
"Colin has tweaked his hamstring. (With Alan Murphy) it's the ankle, its getting a bit of treatment now, they think it mightn't be too bad."
The good news for Cody and Kilkenny is that they have three weeks now until their next outing against Galway; the bad news is that all his players will see action this week with a round of club action in the county.
"We'll be hoping we won't get injuries in club matches, that's for sure," said the Kilkenny boss.
Still, Kilkenny got their business done pretty early on here. A Fennelly goal after just 17 seconds was followed by another from Ger Aylward on eight minutes. By the 20-minute mark, Kilkenny led by 10 and had also hit 10 wides.
Carlow seemed stunned by what had hit them and could do nothing right. A sideline cut was deemed not to have travelled the required distance. Frees went wide or short.
On a day when they needed to be ultra-efficient, they were utterly flat. By half-time they were on the wrong end of a 3-9 to 0-3 scoreline and were probably glad to hear Alan Kelly's whistle.
On the restart they were a different team. In the opening 10 minutes they outscored Kilkenny by 1-5 to a point, with James Doyle grabbing the goal.
Kilkenny never looked in danger, but Carlow boss Colm Bonnar suggested that perhaps the occasion got to his players.
"There was a big build-up to the game. This was, I suppose, the marquee game with Kilkenny coming to Cullen Park and it was all the talk and I think that might have got to us," he said.
"We really struggled with the pace of the game in the first 20 minutes. The start they got, 30 seconds in and they had a goal and they got another soon enough.
"That's what Kilkenny do, they dominate you for maybe 10 minutes and that's the difference between this and Joe McDonagh in that they can put away a big score.
"But I thought we came into it then in the first-half. We hit a few balls into the goalkeeper's hands and we hit a few wides and there was hurling in us.
"I know we were well down at half-time, but I have to give credit to the lads because lesser teams would have come out with their heads down."
For Kilkenny, a clean bill of health after this week's club matches is a must, while Cillian Buckley could also return to action.
"Everyone talks about the injuries, but we don't talk about the injuries. We have a panel of players and as I'm saying the whole time we are still picking from a position of strength as far as I'm concerned," said Cody.
"There is good quality on the bench as well, so it's not a question of who we don't have, it's a question of who we do have."
SCORERS - Kilkenny: TJ Reid 1-12 (8f, 1 65, 1-0 pen), C Fennelly, G Aylward 1-1 each, J Donnelly, A Murphy 0-2 each, R Leahy, B Ryan, A Mullen, W Walsh 0-1 each
Carlow: M Kavanagh 0-5 (4f), J Doyle 1-1, C Nolan 0-3 (2f), S Murphy 0-2, B Treacy (1f), J Kavanagh, D English 0-1 each
Kilkenny - D Brennan 7; P Murphy 7; H Lawlor 6, T Walsh 6; C Fogarty 7, P Walsh 7, P Deegan 6; A Murphy 7, R Leahy 6; A Mullen 6, W Walsh 6, TJ Reid 8; B Sheehan 7, C Fennelly 8, G Aylward 7. Subs: L Blanchfield 6 for Fennelly (27), J Donnelly 7 for Walsh (HT), B Ryan 6 for Aylward (49), J Cleere for Deegan (53), M Keoghan for Leahy (61)
Carlow - B Tracey 7; K McDonald 6, P Doyle 6, M Doyle 6; E Nolan 6, D English 7, R Coady 6; J Kavanagh 6, S Whelan 7; JM Nolan 6, M Kavanagh 7, E Byrne 6; J Doyle 7, S Murphy 7, C Nolan 7. Subs: A Corcoran 6 for P Doyle (HT), T Joyce 6 for E Byrne (49), J Murphy for Whelan (64), D Byrne for J Kavanagh (66), R Smithers for J Doyle (68).
Ref - A Kelly (Galway).