Monday 19 February 2018

Fitzpatrick back in middle for Cats as Fogarty earns starting berth

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

JAMES 'Cha' Fitzpatrick returns at midfield on the Kilkenny team for tomorrow's All-Ireland hurling semi-final, replacing Michael Rice who drops to the subs bench as he recovers from a hand injury.

Aidan Fogarty, who came on as a sub for Martin Comerford in the Leinster final against Galway retains his position in an attack where Henry Shefflin is named at centre-forward, having been at left full-forward last time out.

Brian Hogan, who was replaced by John Tennyson against Galway, returns at centre-back, although there were rumours that he too is carrying an injury.

The team features 10 of the side that started last year's All-Ireland final, with John Dalton, Noel Hickey, 'Cha' Fitzpatrick, Michael Fennelly and TJ Reid replacing Michael Kavanagh, Tennyson, Derek Lyng, Rice and Richie Hogan.

While Kilkenny are money-on favourites to beat the Rebels at Croke Park and maintain their bid for a historic five-in-a-row, one of their rivals from the other semi-final believes there could be a twist in the tale.

Tony Browne might have his own semi-final to prepare for, but he isn't going along with the consensus that the result of tomorrow's clash between Kilkenny and Cork is a foregone conclusion.

The Waterford defender describes the Cats as "one of the best teams of all time" and they are red-hot favourites to bag a place in the final.

It is not in Cork's nature to fear them, though, he notes, and being underdogs they will have nothing to lose at Croke Park.

"Kilkenny are probably one of the best teams of all time and they are going to be very hard to beat," says Browne.

"Take Kilkenny out of the equation and everyone else has a chance.

"In saying that, with the Cork-Kilkenny tradition I don't think Cork will have any fear going up against Kilkenny. They don't have anything to lose either. I wouldn't be surprised if Cork were to give them a decent game."

Kilkenny (SH v Cork) -- PJ Ryan; J Dalton, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney; J Fitzpatrick, M Fennelly; TJ Reid, H Shefflin, E Larkin; E Brennan, R Power, A Fogarty.

Irish Independent

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