Fennelly sets date for Kilkenny return after working with Swans
FORMER Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly will definitely miss the early rounds of the Allianz League.
The versatile midfielder, whose switch to centre-forward was pivotal in Kilkenny clinching the league last year, is currently working with Aussie Rules club Sydney Swans as part of his studies at the University of Limerick.
His club championship was disrupted with an ankle injury, but he is reportedly making good progress and should be ready to rejoin the Kilkenny panel on his return home in mid-February.
There was further good news when it was learned that Richie Power has rejoined the squad after an extended break over the Christmas period.
But Laois, who made such steady progress last year, have been hit with the loss of the county's 2013 Hurler of the Year Zane Keenan.
The Camross star had been back in pre-season training, but is understood to have withdrawn from their panel earlier this week.
His clubmate Gearoid Burke, who played wing-back in the 2013 championship, has also withdrawn from Seamus Plunkett's squad, which will also be without Portlaoise dual star Cahir Healy in 2014 as he will be travelling abroad.
Kerry veteran Paul Galvin is set to make an early season return for the Kingdom tomorrow. He is listed among their substitutes for tomorrow's McGrath Cup semi-final against Cork IT.
Barry John Keane gets a starting berth after scoring 0-4 off the bench last week and Brendan Kealy returns in goal, with Shane O'Callaghan and Brian Kelly the two to lose out.
Elsewhere, the late Galway hurler Niall Donohue has been posthumously honoured with selection on the county's intermediate All Stars Team of the Year. He led his club Kilbeacanty to the county quarter-finals before his untimely death last October.
Hotly tipped young Derry footballer Conor Glass (16) has become the latest Irish teenager to travel Down Under to dip his toes into the Aussie Rules waters.
The Hogan Cup winner has just travelled to Melbourne with his father at the expense of the local club Hawthorn, who are the current AFL champions.