Thursday 19 September 2019

Fennelly happy 'the body is surviving' as Ballyhale eye Leinster crown

Michael Fennelly. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Michael Fennelly. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

With Henry Shefflin directing things from the sideline, Michael Fennelly is afforded the luxury of a club manager who knows his body well and allows him to tailor training to suit his own needs.

Fennelly has had more injuries than most but the all-action midfielder still managed to deliver the goods for Kilkenny when the occasion demanded en route to eight All-Ireland senior crowns.

Winning Hurler of the Year in 2011 despite only participating in a handful of training sessions that summer due to injury summed up his resolve and having stepped away from the inter-county fold last Christmas when his body had "surpassed its limits", the 33-year-old is enjoying the change of pace.

"It's not as hard on the body and the body is surviving.

"Normally I'd come back from Kilkenny and I'd have a couple of things wrong with me but thankfully I'm getting a bit of a run now with the lads to try and avoid injury," said Fennelly.

"I cannot pick and choose sessions, but I manage it better.

Genuinely

"Henry knows me very well in terms of what I can't do as well and things are good, it's been genuinely great to be back with the club."

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Fennelly is spearheading Ballyhale Shamrocks' latest Leinster charge against Ballyboden-St Enda's on Sunday week and with three All-Ireland club titles already to his name, it shouldn't have been a surprise that he continued his pursuit for silverware having hung up his boots with the Cats.

He's doing so as captain at No 6 in a new-look side and while TJ Reid, Joey Holden and his younger brother Colin also provide a wealth of experience, there's a "freshness" with a host of new faces.

"To win a county final was a huge thing but when Leinster opens up, it opens up and we're focusing really hard on this. There's a bit of freshness there, young Evan Shefflin, Henry's nephew, is beside me going fierce well," he said.

"Henry's other nephews Brian and Eoin Cody, the two of them are going fierce well. Lads are stepping up now.

"It takes a couple of years for that but it's great. My cousins are there too, Adrian and Darren Mullen, they're still quite young but a year or two at senior adds massive experience.

"It puts a bit of size on them too so those lads should be improving too. We're there now and any time you get to a final they have to be won so we'll be gunning for that."

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