James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick last night announced his retirement from inter-county hurling. What has come as a massive surprise to the both Kilkenny and hurling supporters in general, the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman cited the commitment required and the changing nature of the game as reasons for his decision to step away from the Cats senior fold.
At 26 years of age, the primary school teacher is still relatively young in hurling terms but stated on RTE that one of his weaknesses “was the lack of speed” and this has gone against him in recent years. “I remember during the year, doing drills against Michael Fennelly and Michael Rice and they’re power houses. For every step they took I’d take three, I’d find it hard to keep up with them. They’d run up and down the field from 21-yard line to 21-yard line effortlessly”.
‘Cha’ was a young prodigy in the GAA world, winning ‘Young Hurler of the Year’ and captaining Kilkenny to an All-Ireland Senior Championship with many feeling that he still had plenty to offer to Brian Coady’s charges however he decided to call time on his Kilkenny career. Reports have already started to surface that he may make the move to Dublin where he is working following the likes of Ryan O’Dwyer from Tipperary who have successfully made the switch.