Saturday 18 November 2017

Kilkenny's double gamble

Cody names Shefflin and Fennelly as Cats lay All-Ireland crown on line

Henry Shefflin
Henry Shefflin

Martin Breheny and Cliona Foley

KILKENNY will gamble on the fitness of Henry Shefflin and Michael Fennelly for tomorrow's win-or-bust All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Cork.

The last two Hurlers of the Year came off the bench when the defending champions beat Waterford last time out, but Shefflin was rested for extra-time as the Cats kept alive their championship hopes.

Cillian Buckley is also fit again and comes back in to partner Fennelly at midfield.

The resulting switches see Eoin Larkin named at wing-forward, with Richie Hogan moving to full-forward. Shefflin (pictured) has been selected at top of the left, but is more likely to rotate between there and the half-forward line.

Michael Rice, Matthew Ruth and Aidan Fogarty are the three who lose out.

Kilkenny will be bidding to reach the hurling semi-finals for a record 17th successive season, while football champions Donegal will have to beat Laois and the six-day hoodoo to avoid losing their Ulster and All-Ireland football titles in the space of six days when they run out in Carrick-on-Shannon this evening.

Only once in 15 attempts have provincial runners-up won a fourth-round qualifier tie six days later over the last 12 years.

Coming on top of their poor performance against Monaghan last Sunday, it's an added worry for Jim McGuinness as he attempts to plot a victory against a Laois team seeking their eighth successive qualifier win over two seasons.

The winners of today's four qualifiers go into the draw for next weekend's All-Ireland quarter-finals against provincial winners Dublin, Kerry, Mayo and Monaghan.

Irish Independent

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