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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Fennelly's 'under pressure' for D-Day

Kilkenny’s Michael Fennelly at Centra’s #WeAreHurling launch yesterday
Kilkenny’s Michael Fennelly at Centra’s #WeAreHurling launch yesterday

Michael Fennelly is in a "race against time" to be fit for Kilkenny's looming All-Ireland SHC qualifier against rivals unknown.

The 2011 Hurler of the Year was a frustrated spectator as Brian Cody's crew surrendered their Leinster crown in Wexford ten days ago.

Now the injury-blighted Fennelly has conceded that his latest mishap - an aggravation to the Achilles that required surgery last August - is threatening his participation on Saturday week.

"I have a bit of an issue with the Achilles there at the moment, just waiting on it to settle down, a bit of aggravation," he explained at yesterday's Centra '#WeAreHurling' launch.

"So that's a small bit frustrating ... but hopefully this week it will settle down."

Fennelly's barnstorming midfield presence was certainly missed as Kilkenny suffered their first championship defeat to Wexford in 13 years.

"I played a club game five weeks ago, things were looking better all right, more promising, but just aggravated it then maybe a week or so after that," he recounted.

"It's inflamed - and you know an inflamed Achilles, it just needs to settle basically.

"I'd be under pressure (for Saturday week). It's a race against time all right. I'm just waiting for it to settle and to get back training and to see what happens from there."

Given the presence of Tipperary and Waterford in the qualifier bowl next Monday morning, there is a distinct possibility that the off-colour Cats may have to put their All-Ireland credentials on the line against a fellow fallen heavyweight.

Even if Fennelly is passed fit, he conceded that going in at the deep end would be "concerning".

"I'm probably not trying to think about it. If I can get my body some way right, hopefully then we can see what happens. But it does probably take the 10 to 12 months easily to get back to your best from an injury like that," he said.

"I haven't had much hurling time either. Just keeping the head right more than anything - and if the head is right then hopefully the body will come right soon enough.

"I'm mentally strong about it," he continued. "There's no point stressing about these things; they've happened. My body is not really built for probably playing at this level, to a certain degree.

"But I'm very fortunate that I am. So that's the way I am, I'd be looking at the pluses more than the negatives. I'm still playing and there's just a minor thing at the moment that we need to overcome."

Meanwhile, Podge Collins sounded a more confident fitness note ahead of Clare's Munster SHC final against Cork.

The 2013 All Star went off injured during the semi-final against Limerick.

"I chipped a bone in my foot," Collins explained. "I'm just doing a bit and rehabbing, back hopefully this week ... I'll be fine for the Munster final, 100 per cent."

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