The Cats were short 11 players and had to call up a local teenager an hour before throw-in just to make up the 15 players as they suffered a humiliating 6-34 to 0-2 battering by Louth in the Leinster U-21 Football Championship.
But manager John McGrath (who also manages the Kilkenny senior footballers) insisted the players had good reasons for being absent and did not deserve to bear the brunt of the blame.
“Lads had all sorts of reasons such as being stuck in work or Dublin or having exams or recovering from injuries and from a panel of 21 only two lads didn’t contact me to say they couldn’t make it,” – said McGrath.
McGrath conceded that such a soul-destroying defeat was disastrous for those who did turn out, but insisted that Kilkenny’s efforts to develop their football will continue unabated.
He added: “Our problem is that if you have a fairly good hurler, who is also a good footballer, his club will actively discourage him from playing with us. They don’t want him playing football with us because they want him available for club hurling at all times.”