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Kilkenny legend shares his story to raise awareness of painful condition

A Cats legend has launched a new awareness campaign for a form of inflammatory arthritis.

Kilkenny hurling legend and current Offaly manager, Michael Fennelly, is sharing his personal story in a short film to raise awareness about A-S –  ankylosing spondylitis.

Fennelly was just 20 when he was diagnosed with it after his father was hospitalised for the same condition and he has been living with the painful condition for the past 16 years.

Michael Fennelly lifting the Liam McCarthy Cup after Kilkenny won the 2009 All Ireland hurling final (screengrab Living with ankylosing spondylitis – Michael Fennelly’s story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UyMS61P4PM

AS mainly affects the spine, but can also cause pain and/or swelling in the shoulders, hips, knees, heels, chest/ribs and small joints of the hands and feet.

The eight times All-Ireland winner and three times All-Star says he realised it was getting bad when a photographer tried to take his picture after the Four-in-a-row in 2009.

“He was calling to me to lift the cup up and you know do the four-in-a-row with his hand, and I was lifting the cup with one hand and I had me hand up. He was kinda nodding at me like no, no, put your hand up four-in-a-row! And I was like, I’m doing it, I’m doing it! And I looked at my hand, and my hand was obviously, my fingers were bent. And I didn’t really notice myself until that time that I couldn’t actually do it. And now it’s after getting worse again”