Friday 20 September 2019

Cody's options strengthen as dogged Cats prepare for visit of the Tribes

Cillian Buckley in contention for return against Galway. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cillian Buckley in contention for return against Galway. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody will have his strongest hand yet at his disposal when Galway visit Nowlan Park for their Leinster SHC clash on Sunday.

The Cats have been dogged by injury so far in this Championship campaign, but have managed to win both their games in Leinster to date and sit top of the table.

And despite the county taking the unusual step of releasing the players back en masse to the clubs for a full round of league matches just a couple of days after their win over Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park, their injury worries have eased significantly as the Tribesmen loom large on the horizon.

Centre-back Cillian Buckley is back in contention after he came through the full 60 minutes for Dicksboro. He hasn't lined out for the Cats since last year's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to eventual Liam MacCarthy winners Limerick due to a knee injury, but he is tipped to be part of the squad for this weekend's clash after it was initially feared he'd miss all of the Leinster Championship.

Action

Fellow injury victim James Maher also made his return to action when he came on as a sub for St Lachtain's, but he might have to wait before returning to action with the county side, while Richie Hogan, who didn't feature in the win over Carlow, also lined out for Danesfort.

Conor Delaney is edging back towards full fitness, while Joey Holden is also back in contention.

However, his club-mate Colin Fennelly sat out Ballyhale's last match and is believed to be a doubt for the visit of Galway with hamstring trouble, while All Star goalkeeper Eoin Murphy is not expected to play any part in the Leinster Championship as he continues to recover from a damaged bone in his knee.

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Micheál Donoghue's men have won one and drawn one of their two games so far as they continue life without talisman Joe Canning, who is not expected to make a return for another month.

Kilkenny top the table, with just two points separating the top four sides in the province.

Irish Independent

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