Holden setback adds to Cody casualty list and cranks up pressure on Cats
The Kilkenny injury crisis has gone from bad to worse with Brian Cody expected to be without former All-Star defender Joey Holden for Saturday night's eagerly-awaited Leinster SHC opener with Dublin in Nowlan Park (7.0).
Holden (pictured right) is understood to have suffered a hamstring injury in recent days and the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman will play no part in the early rounds of their provincial campaign, leaving Cody's injury-ravaged Cats facing a mountain to climb.
Cody is already without All-Star goalkeeper Eoin Murphy, full-back Conor Delaney, last year's captain Cillian Buckley and midfielder James Maher due to long-term injuries, while there is a major doubt surrounding the fitness of former Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan.
Holden could have filled one of the vacant defensive positions, while Cody's attacking options have also suffered a significant blow as James Stephens forward Luke Scanlon is another to have suffered a hamstring problem.
Meanwhile, Waterford manager Páraic Fanning is believed to be resigned to being without defender Darragh Fives for their Munster SHC clash with Clare in Walsh Park this Sunday.
The versatile Tourin clubman - who played no part in the National League due to injury - has had a horrible run of luck in recent seasons and is losing his fitness race to play any part in the Déise's provincial campaign due to a calf injury.
Elsewhere, Tipperary's Michael Cahill has had a major injury setback after breaking his kneecap in a training collision, just weeks after making a rapid recovery from cruciate knee ligament injury suffered last October.
The 30-year-old Thurles Sarsfields' defender, a two-time All-Ireland winner with the Premier County, has had to undergo surgery and faces a long road back to full fitness.