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Cats ace hopeful of all-clear for opener


INJURY: Tommy Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile

INJURY: Tommy Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile

INJURY: Tommy Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile

Tommy Walsh is not expected to be adversely affected by a knock sustained to his shoulder over the weekend.

Walsh got injured playing for his club Tullaroan on Saturday night and sat out training the following morning.

But Kilkenny are hopeful that it will not set him back unduly as he recovers from a similar injury which ruled him out for the latter stages of the league.

However, the Cats will be without driving midfielder Michael Fennelly for the opening game of the Leinster SHC against Wexford on Saturday week.

The Ballyhale Shamrocks man broke a bone in his right hand against Offaly, and he has not played since.

Fennelly sat out Shamrocks' game against Fenians (Johnstown) in the local senior league at the weekend, and he took no part in Kilkenny's hurling training last night.

There was better news regarding JJ Delaney and James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick, who returned to action at the weekend after missing a challenge match against Waterford the previous week. Richie Hogan picked up a hand injury and missed the weekend action, but he is expected at training later this week.

The Wexford Park double bill is expected to draw a crowd close to a capacity of 20,000 on Saturday week as the home side also play Westmeath in the Leinster football championship.

Meanwhile, referees' chief Mick Curley said that the absence of straight red cards at the weekend -- after six the previous weekend -- was not as a result of officials being told to be lenient.

"It just does not work like that. Each referee implements the rules and that can mean, depending on games, that each team can finish with 15 or there could be several sent off around the country," said Curley.

"There is no difference in the implementation of the rules. The reality of it is that the number of red cards will fluctuate from one weekend to the other -- maybe weather will be a factor or the tightness of games. But the important thing is that the rules are implemented across the board."

Irish Independent