/ GAA

Kilkenny's Phelan forced to quit hurling

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 16:38

Conor Phelan's inter-county hurling career is over after a heart condition was diagnosed
Conor Phelan's inter-county hurling career is over after a heart condition was diagnosed

Kilkenny forward Conor Phelan has been forced to hang up his hurl after doctors discovered a leaky valve in his heart.

A current panellist with the Cats, Phelan has been advised by cardiologists to end his hurling career at just 22-years of age.

The news comes just five months after Kilkenny manager Brian Cody lost young full-back Noel Hickey for the season due to a similar heart problem.

Hickey, 25, was diagnosed in June with a serious viral infection that could have damaged his heart, but doctors have allowed the Dunnamaggin defender to return to training this week.

Phelan said: "Noel had a problem with his heart earlier in the year and the county board decided it would be wise for the whole panel to have a medical check-up and I thought nothing of it at the time.

"I was called into a room and told that there was a problem with one of the valves in my heart and it seemed like a bad dream at first. I went up to the Mater Private in Dublin and some of the top cardiologists in the country examined me and gave me the bad news.

"Apparently intense physical exercise would put too much strain on my heart and make the leak in the valve worse. The hardest thing to take is that I can't feel one symptom of it at all, and feel perfectly fine," he told the Irish Independent.

Phelan, a member of the Clara club, came on as a substitute for Kilkenny in their 2003 All-Ireland SHC final win over Cork, and also won successive All-Ireland Under-21 medals in 2003 and 2004.

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