Ahead of the crucial NHL relegation tie, Kilkenny manager Brian Cody has made seven changes from the side that defeated Clare
Only two of the changes are forced owing to an injury to Jackie Tyrrell and illness rules out John Power. It is the first time of the year that Cody will be able to call on the contingent from recently crowned All-Ireland champions Ballyhale Shamrocks. As a result; TJ Reid, Michael Fennelly, Joey Holden and Colin Fennelly all make their first starts of 2015 for the Cats.
Despite being top scorer in last week’s 2-20 2-19 win over the Banner, Kevin Kelly’s haul of 1-09 is not enough to keep his place in the Kilkenny team. 2014 Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan returns to the Kilkenny team at corner-forward in place of O’Loughlin Gaels man Mark Kelly.
Two of the seven changes come in the half-back line. Tomás Keogh and Willie Phelan relinquish their places. 2014 All-Ireland winning Captain Lester Ryan and UCD student Cillian Buckley return to flank Kieran Joyce as wing-backs.
Davy Fitzgerald does not have the option of recalling such an amount of players, for the Sixmilebridge man it’s the opposite. Brendan Bugler is suspended while Colm Galvin, Conor McGrath and Patrick O’Connor are all injury doubts. Joint Captain Cian Dillon, Tony Kelly and Darach Honan are struggling to overcome illness and it is unclear if they will be fit in time for the relegation playoff. Ballyea’s Paul Flanagan is ruled out with an Achilles injury.
Throw-in on Sunday is at 14:00 in Nowlan Park with Cathal McAllister as the man in the middle. The Clare Hurling Supporters Club are calling on all Clare fans to travel to Kilkenny this Sunday to cheer on the Banner.
1: Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)
2: Shane Prendergast (Clara)
3: Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
4: Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
5: Lester Ryan (Clara)
6: Kieran Joyce (Rower Inistioge)
7: Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)
8: Joe Lyng (Rower Inistioge)
9: Michael Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
10: Walter Walsh (Tulogher Rosbercon)
11: TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12: Matthew Ruth (James Stephens)
13: Jonjo Farrell (Thomastown)
14: Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15: Richie Hogan (Danesfort).