Reid and Hogan miss Rebel tie as Cats place faith in youth
Former Hurlers of the Year TJ Reid and Richie Hogan will miss Kilkenny's opening Allianz Division 1A HL clash with Cork on Saturday due to injury as Cats boss Brian Cody looks set to give youth its fling during the spring.
Cody will be short-handed in attack for the Páirc Uí Chaoimh tie with Walter Walsh the only forward available from their last All-Ireland final win three years ago as Reid (calf) and Hogan (back) nurse their way back to full health.
Neither Reid nor Hogan appeared during Kilkenny's Walsh Cup campaign and their loss will be sorely felt as the experienced duo of Paul Murphy and Colin Fennelly are unavailable for the league as they are on a tour of duty with the Irish Army in Lebanon.
Reid's younger brother Richie is available however, despite being shown a red card in last Saturday's Walsh Cup final defeat to Wexford, as his suspension will not come into force until next year's Walsh Cup.
That being said, 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager Cody will still be forced to delve deep into his reserve of talent.
Cork have their own woes with Patrick Horgan, the Rebels' all-time top scorer, forced to sit out their first league game in the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh as he serves a one-game ban for his sending off in the dying minutes of last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Waterford.
There are also doubts about the participation of All-Star wing-back Mark Coleman and Shane Kingston, who sat out UCC's Fitzgibbon Cup defeat to UCD yesterday, so new Cork boss John Meyler will have also have to shuffle his deck.
Elsewhere, Laois hurling boss Eamonn Kelly also has some injury headaches ahead of their Division 1B trip to Limerick's Gaelic Grounds on Saturday as Leigh Bergin and Ross King will miss the Treaty encounter while Cahir Healy, Stephen 'Picky' Maher and Dwane Palmer are recuperating from serious injuries.
Kildare football boss Cian O'Neill must also plan without the services of Keith Cribbin for their daunting Division 1 FL visit to Croke Park to face Dublin as the dynamic Johnstownbridge defender picked up a knock last weekend and will not recover in time to face the reigning All-Ireland champions.
Meanwhile, Wicklow football boss John Evans must plan without the services of last year's captain Stephen Kelly as the Greystones dual star opts to focus his attention solely on the small ball with the Garden county.
Kelly played both codes last season - even lining out in championship games on consecutive days - and his inclusion is a huge boost for Seamus Murphy's hurlers.