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Cat with nine lives Fennelly hails Richie Hogan a hero for having the guts to play on for the Cats with his battered body

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Richie Hogan produced a moment of magic against Galway

Richie Hogan produced a moment of magic against Galway

SPORTSFILE

Richie Hogan produced a moment of magic against Galway

Colin Fennelly has hailed Richie Hogan's 'guts' to stay with inter-county hurling after all the injuries he has had to produce game-changing moments like he did to turn Saturday night's Leinster hurling final.

Kilkenny won their first provincial hurling title in four years with Hogan's wonderful touch for their first goal sparking a run to overcome a dominant Galway.

"A lot of players might have hung up the boots at 32/33 after something like with all the injuries they had," he said.

"It takes a lot of guts to come back and to be on the bench and come on and do what he does.

"Last year he was going from game to game and he was struggling with injuries. This year, I'm not sure if the break did him good, but he's in every session now and you can see that from the match the other day, any match he got near his movement was excellent. And the goal he created was unbelievable."

Hogan was sent off in last year's All-Ireland hurling final defeat to Tipperary, a game-changing moment of a different kind.

"To have him there as an option to come off the bench is unbelievable and he changed the game on Saturday, everybody saw that. It's great to see that recognition because last year I thought he had a good year for Kilkenny and it was clouded by that final. I don't think there was much in it, but it was just clouded by that. And for such a player.

"He's outrageously skilful. The things you see him doing in training, you'd wonder how he's not playing. But there are loads of lads in training and you're wondering how he's not playing and that's probably a good thing for Kilkenny that we have that at the moment. There is serious competition there for places.

"You could see when he came on against Dublin he was unfortunate with two scores. And if he was to get those two scores and normally he would, he would have changed that game as well."

Fennelly, Kilkenny captain, was taken off on Saturday night and feels he can benefit from having two weeks to prepare for an All-Ireland semi-final to address what hasn't gone right for him in games.

"I definitely find it's a huge advantage. I know with the club it was week after week and you'd really feel it. Whereas now with the county you have that two-week break. We'll have Wednesday and Saturday of good hurling sessions in and for players like me who didn't have a good game at the weekend I can follow up with trying to get my form back in training."

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