10 Kilkenny Hurlers who may make their Championship debut in 2017
- James Maher – St Lachtains
Maher had a great chance of making a big impact for Kilkenny in the championship 2016 but for a freak farming accident which ruled him out for the rest of the year with a serious knee injury. He is comfortable playing on the half back line, midfield and the half forward line. He excelled for Kilkenny on his debut in the National League 2016, scoring 4 points from play off 2016 Tipperary captain Brendan Maher. He performed well in a few more league games and would surely have featured in some capacity in the championship if not for the unfortunate injury. It will be interesting to see where Brian Cody decides to play him in the league. Keep your eye out for this guy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXdRUOudhK0 – Credit: breakingthrough
- Luke Scanlon – James Stephens
This guy is a real prospect. He excelled for the Kilkenny minors in 2014. He is from Brian Cody’s club James Stephens – so he knows him well. He scored 5 points from play in the 2014 All Ireland Colleges final against city rivals St Kieran’s College. He has a great first touch and is lightning fast. The only drawback is that he has had to deal with a lot of injuries throughout his young career so far. If he can stay injury free, he could feature in some capacity for the cats in 2017.
- Paddy Deegan – O’Loughlin Gaels
Deegan has been on the extended training panel with Kilkenny for the last two years, so Cody will know him well. He played a huge part in O’Loughlin Gaels winning their 4th County Championship. He had a great game at midfield in the county final and also impressed in the Gaels Leinster campaign. Deegan can play in the half back line and midfield. He may be given a chance in the league to impress.
- Sean Morrissey – Bennetsbridge
Sean has yet to play for Kilkenny at Senior inter county level. He was a prominent minor for Kilkenny, winning an All Ireland medal in 2014. He played a huge part in leading his club Bennetsbridge to back to back All Ireland Junior and Intermediate titles. He can play in any of the forward positions and can score off both sides. He is probably on the light side but give him space and he will cause serious damage to most opponents.
- Chris Bolger – Clara
Bolger is an inside forward with an eye for goal. He has been Clara’s main forward for the last few seasons helping them to win two county titles. He has featured in the league for Kilkenny but only as a substitute. He came on against Clare in the league final defeat – scoring two points. Cody is likely to give Bolger some game time in the league to see if he is up to Inter county hurling. His main focus is on scoring goals – a trait that Cody loves! It is definitely something Kilkenny need to improve on if they want to reclaim the Liam McCarthy from Tipperary.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q7MU5ShrHU – Credit: breakingthrough
- John Walsh – Mullinavat
John Walsh came to national prominence when he starred for Kilkenny minors in 2014. He won the man of the match award in the final – scoring 2-5 from play. He had only come on as a substitute in the semi-final but had made such a difference he started the final. He also played a big part in the winning success of the All-Ireland Intermediate title for the Cats last August against Clare. He is very fast and also has an eye for a goal. He will surely be given a chance at some stage for Kilkenny in 2017.
- Richie Leahy – Rower Inistioge
Leahy has a great chance of making the Kilkenny team this year. In the 2015 Minor campaign especially, Leahy lit up Croke Park with his magnificent displays. He was brilliant at midfield for Kilkenny. He can also play on the half forward line but he is most suited to midfield where he can use his abundance of energy to maximum potential. He may need some coaching of taking the best option available but there is no doubt that this guy has serious potential.
- Darren Mullen – Ballyhale Shamrocks
Mullen is currently not on the Kilkenny panel but he is definitely on the radar of Brian Cody. He has good pedigree – a first cousin of current Kilkenny hurlers; Mick and Colin Fennelly. He played for Ballyhale in the county final defeat to O’Loughlin Gaels. He lined out at corner back but will probably end up playing on the half back line as his career progresses. He has been very unlucky so far in his career – rupturing his cruciate ligament twice. He has played County minor for three consecutive – winning one All Ireland medal. He may not feature for Kilkenny this year but he has a long term future in the black and amber jersey. Remember the name.
- Richie Reid – Ballyhale Shamrocks
Reid is the younger brother of Kilkenny star T.J. Richie is the current Kilkenny sub keeper. He impressed for Ballyhale Shamrocks at half back in the 2016 campaign. He is an excellent keeper but Cody may give him a chance out the field in the league. Eoin Murphy has the number 1 spot sewn up so Cody may best utilise Reid out the field. He has played for the Kilkenny minors and U21s in the forwards. It will be interesting to see if Cody will give him a chance out the field in 2017.
- Jason Cleere – Bennetsbridge
Cleere is a defender. He normally plays for his club on the half back line. Cody is sure to give some new defenders a chance to impress in the league and Cleere may be one of those players to be given a chance. He is big and strong and could fit into the half back line for Kilkenny as Cody looks to shore up the Cats defence.