Fennelly expects Kilkenny improvement

by Michelle Fortune , 13 March 2012

Kilkenny have made an impressive start to the Allianz Hurling League but captain Michael Fennelly has warned that there is even more to come.

The All-Ireland champions easily defeated Tipperary in their opening Division 1A clash and they followed that with another facile victory over Waterford to leave them top of the table courtesy of a greater points difference.

Although Waterford put it up to them during the first half, Kilkenny exerted their authority after the break and Fennelly concedes it was a hard game for Brian Cody's men. But he believes it will stand to them as the season progresses.

"We’re doing alright, coming and going, doing well in patches. We had a good performance against Tipperary [league opener, eight-point win], a good second half against Waterford but that was a hard game overall, it will stand to us going forward," Fennelly said.

"Walsh Park is a very tight pitch so it was always going be very physical. We’re happy enough with the performance and good to get the win but it’s only the second game in the league. A lot of progress made but we know there’s a lot more to be done."

Kilkenny have yet to be beaten in 2012 but Fennelly believes a combination of factors have worked in their favour.

"First of all, the weather is fantastic, almost like summer hurling, really," he added.

"Pitches are in good nick where normally at this time of the year you could be ploughing your way through a game. We’re training as hard as ever but lads are enjoying it more. I think too we’re coming back fresher after Christmas and that stands for a lot. No one is coming back anymore in poor condition. Lads are minding themselves now during the break, which wasn’t the case a few years ago.

"Training was always hard, especially at the start of the season, but I’ve even seen it myself since I started with Kilkenny, the standard is going up all the time, and lads are starting off the year fitter and better."

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