Kilkenny’s 2020 captain Colin Fennelly is opting out of inter-county hurling for the 2021 campaign.
His departure was first reported by the Irish Independent late Tuesday night.
Kilkenny’s inter-county season finished with an All-Ireland semi-final exit at the hands of Waterford, but that game only arrived at the end of November.
With training set to resume shortly and a league campaign set to commence in February, the quick turnaround, work commitments and Fennelly’s hunger for the game are cited as reasons for his temporary departure.
Per the Independent, Fennelly leaves with “the blessing of the 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager and he is expected to rejoin the fold in 2022 after taking some time out to regain his appetite for county action and focus on work commitments.”
Confirming to KCLR his decision to step back for 2021, Fennelly said it was simply a chance to “recharge the batteries.”
Having had a quiet game against Galway in the Leinster final, Fennelly was subsequently dropped from the start against Waterford, a move that drew criticism in some local circles. He did make an appearance in the game with the Cats chasing proceedings on the 49th minute, replacing Billy Ryan.
Fennelly had been expected to retain the captaincy of the inter-county side.
His departure comes as the third big name to step aside from the Cats in the past week. Paul Murphy announced his retirement on Friday followed swiftly by Ger Aylward on Saturday.
Also set to miss out for Kilkenny for the season ahead are Dicksboro duo Thomas Kenny and Bill Sheehan along with Enda Morrissey (Bennettsbridge) and Luke Scanlon (James Stephens)