kieran Joyce was the surprise choice at centre-back on the Kilkenny team for the make-or-break All-Ireland senior hurling quarter-final against Limerick in Thurles on Sunday, writes John Knox.
The 25-year-old takes over from the injured Brian Hogan on a team that shows five changes from the side that started the Leinster final against Galway.
Joyce, from the Rower-Inistioge club, joined the panel last year but he has a wealth of experience with Kilkenny team at various levels. He won two under-21 All-Irelands, in 2006 and 2008, plus an intermediate All-Ireland in the latter season.
He also won a Fitzgibbon Cup with UL in 2011. This will be Joyce’s first championship start. However, he did feature in the National League final win over Cork, when he came on as a sub for the injured J.J. Delaney at half-time, although on that occasion he slotted on the full-back line.
Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, and fellow selectors, Michael Dempsey and Martin Fogarty, trained the team behind closed doors at Nowlan Park after the Leinster final collapse against Galway.
They didn’t stand on ceremony when picking the team. They welcomed back Michael Fennelly and J.J. Delaney after injury, while Michael Rice, who featured as a sub in the provincial final, has been included in the starting XV also. Aidan Fogarty, who has been flying in training, also forced his way into the team, and with Joyce added, that makes up the five chances from the team beaten by Galway.
Those who drop from the team beaten by Galway are Brain Hogan (injured), Noel Hickey, Paddy Hogan, Cillian Buckley and T.J. Reid.
Kilkenny (SH v Limerick) - David Herity, Paul Murphy, J.J. Delaney, Jackie Tyrrell, Tommy Walsh, Kieran Joyce, Richie Doyle, Michael Fennelly, Michael Rice, Eoin Larkin (capt), Richie Power, Henry Shefflin, Colin Fennelly, Richie Hogan, Aidan Fogarty. Subs - Eoin Murphy, Noel Hickey, Conor Fogarty, John Tennyson, Paddy Hogan, Cillian Buckley, T.J. Reid, Matt Ruth, Tomas Breen, Walter Walsh, Mark Kelly.