Cork's Niall McCarthy tackles Dublin's Conal Keaney.

Michael Fennelly, Aidan Fogarty and John Dalton picked up injuries as Kilkenny booked their NHL final date with Dublin thanks to Sunday’s 1-27 to 1-19 win over relegated Offaly.

Fennelly broke his hand, Fogarty picked up an Achilles injury and Dalton broke his ankle ,and all three are likely to miss the league decider.

Manager Brian Cody is looking forward to that fixture and said, “The league final is another great game for us, that is for certain.

“We’d love to win the league and it is also huge preparation for the championship and it gives the opportunity to players to sample real big match atmosphere.”
Kilkenny will now meet Dublin in the league final at Croke Park on Sunday, May 1, and Cody has again revealed his high regard for the Blues.

Cody told RTE Radio, “I’ve been talking about this Dublin team and the talent they have for the last three years.

“They’ve been let down by the occasional poor performance where they have got a bad beating, but you could see the improvement is there and the opportunity and talent is very much there this year.

“They’ve really put good performances together one after the other, and they are without doubt deserving to be in the league final.

“I heard someone say they won’t fear us and I would say that is for certain. We look forward to having a terrific crowd there supporting Kilkenny and Dublin.

“To me, I am thrilled to see the quality of hurling in Dublin, and I would love to see every county playing the same quality to what they are playing.

“I am not even remotely surprised at their level of and the progress they have made because I think there is absolutely massive potential in the team.”

Cody wants his team to work on their consistency ahead of the Dublin clash after another stop-start performance against Offaly.

He added, “We have been pretty inconsistent in matches so far. We’ve had good parts of games and periods of the game where we were not very dominant. Against Offaly, in the first half, we played decent hurling and got a decent score of 1-15.

“But we didn’t hammer it home in the second half. We allowed Offaly back into it, they got a goal and pulled it back to about six points. I suppose the worrying part of it for us is we got a couple of injuries.

“It looks like John Dalton and Aidan Fogarty could have serious injuries picked up. But overall it was one of our better performances at the same time.”