While the celebrations continue this week in the Ballyhale Shamrocks camp following their All-Ireland success at the weekend, some of the club’s big names are set to depart on their travels.
Colin Fennelly and Joey Holden, who had both been Stateside ahead of Ballyhale’s championship run, are set to return abroad, Fennelly to the US with Joey Holden continuing his travels this year with a trip to Mexico and South America with Brian Cody due to depart for Australia.
Speaking to GAA.ie, Holden suggested he’ll be gone until at least the start of the club championship in Kilkenny.
“The plan is to go missing for a few days and then come back to reality and head off on Friday, so we’ll have a special few days celebrating with this great bunch of lads and enjoy every minute of it and then head on our way on Friday,” he told Cian O’Connell.
“We’re going to Mexico city starting off this time. Just with the weather and stuff it’s a better time to hit there, so we’ll start there and make our way down. There’s no flight home booked, we don’t know what way we are going to work it, but we’ll probably travel for seven or eight months.”
Manager Pat Hoban confirmed the players will depart the panel, though thanks to the split season, the club won’t see competitive action again until July or August. At that, it’s not expected to see a number of the Ballyhale players involved with Kilkenny in the Allianz Hurling League until the latter rounds of the competition.
“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s well-publicised that some of their experienced players Joey (Holden), Colin (Fennelly) and Brian Cody are heading away in the next couple of days. They’ll be a huge loss. But that’s an opportunity for other players, young guys to step up and grab that jersey.”
Hard as it might be to be missing big figures around the training pitch, Hoban knows there’s special spiriting bonding the players at Shamrocks, from the young guns to the elders in the ranks.
“What I’ve seen from the outside coming in, you have that generational gap with TJ, Joey and Colin. But they (Shamrocks) get on so well as a group. You’ve got Niall Shortall and Killian Corcoran who are in school at the moment but they just gel together so well as a team.”
You can hear Hoban’s full chat on the latest Full Time podcast, out now.