Friday 23 February 2018

Cody wields axe on Walsh and Farrell with Aylward's future in doubt

 

Brian Cody. Photo:
Brian Cody. Photo:

Michael Verney

Brian Cody is not one for sentiment and the 11-time All-Ireland-winning Kilkenny manager has wielded the axe by releasing some of his most experienced servants as he attempts to rebuild after a disastrous 2017 campaign.

Cody - who won't face any further sanction after being sent to the stands during the Walsh Cup final - has not taken the change in fortunes for the Cats lying down and both Jonjo Farrell and Michael Walsh have been let go from the set-up as he currently works from a provisional squad of approximately 50 players.

Walsh has been scuppered by injury in recent seasons as he looked to break into the Kilkenny defence, but the omission of Farrell is a big shock as the Thomastown ace lit up the 2016 Leinster campaign, hitting 2-9 from play in their wins over Dublin and Galway.

Farrell was later named Leinster Hurler of the Year and more of the same was expected against Waterford but, having been taken off scoreless against the Déise in the drawn All-Ireland semi-final, he played no part in their final loss to Tipp and received limited game-time last season.

Opted Another to leave the fold is last year's captain Mark Bergin, who has opted to part ways with the squad ahead of the coming season, while it's understood that Ger Aylward is not currently part of Cody's squad for the campaign ahead.

The immediate future of the 2015 All-Star attacker, who recovered from a cruciate knee injury to return last season, remains in some doubt after a disappointing campaign which saw him regularly taken off or used as a substitute as he struggled to hit the heights of three years ago.

Two players who will definitely see no league action are teak-tough defender Paul Murphy and dynamic attacker Colin Fennelly, who are both out of the country on peace-keeping duties with the Army until April at the earliest.

Combined with the inter-county retirements of Kieran Joyce and Michael Fennelly, it's all change as Cody - in his 20th season at the helm - faces one of his most challenging chapters.

Irish Independent

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