FOLLOWING what was a very weak performance and shock result against Dublin in the National Hurling League final on Sunday, Kilkenny fans are anxiously awaiting the return of injured stars before the start of what will be a difficult Leinster championship.
The Cats will be in action on June 11 against the winners from the Antrim/Laois/Wexford side of the draw. They could end playing in Wexford Park, which would be some challenge in the present depressed climate.
Supporters hoping for a quick fix for things will be disappointed. There isn’t one, but Cats boss, Brian Cody has vowed Kilkenny will be in fighting form come championship time.
There was speculation that former player of the year, Henry Shefflin, who severed a cruciate in the knee for a second time in the All-Ireland final in September, was on the verge of a return.
While the Ballyhale Shamrocks man has been training well with the county squad and his club, he will not be pressed to return to action too quickly.
It looks likely that Shefflin will sit out Saturday’s senior league match against Dunnamaggin. A more likely date for his return is Thursday, May 26 when Shamrocks face Fenians (Johnstown) in a third round match.
John Tennyson (Carrickshock), who is also recovering following surgery to repair a severed cruciate, is months away from a return. Aidan Fogarty (Emeralds) won’t see any action in the upcoming championship either.
J.J. Delaney returned from a hamstring injury to face the Dubs, but ended up damaging the hamstring of his other leg and was forced out of the game. He will be sidelined for a few weeks, but he should be fine by championship time.