DETERMINED Kilkenny attacker, Colin Fennelly is this week chasing the biggest birthday present of his young life - a place on the All-Ireland hurling final team.
The Ballyhale Shamrocks man will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Thursday, and nothing would please him more than to prove his fitness so he can play in what would be his first senior final.
“It is a possibility,” Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody insisted last night.
The fleet-footed attacker picked up a serious hamstring injury during a club league game against Clara 10 days ago, but he was back doing light jogging at the Kilkenny training camp in Carton House, Kildare over the weekend and at Nowlan Park on Monday evening.
Not ruled out
There is every chance he could yet make the big Croke Park showdown against champions, Tipperary on Sunday week.
“Colin is most certainly not ruled out of the final,” Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody told the ’People. “The next few days will tell a serious story about his chances.”
The Cork IT student will be given every chance to prove his fitness. The likelihood is that the decision will be left until early next week.
On Monday or Tuesday at the latest Fennelly will have to play some hurling and join in the sprint work at training if he is to have any hope of making the final VX. The team will be announced on Friday week.
Kilkenny officials admitted surprise at the rapid improvement in Fennelly’s condition because in the immediate aftermatch of suffering the injury he looked to have no chance of making the decider.
“He is certainly making good progress,” Brian Cody assured. “He was able to do a good bit of running, not sprinting or anything like that. The next four or five days will tell a serious story about his chances.
“He is not ruled out. He is most certainly not ruled out. We are hopeful that Colin will be available, but it is impossible to say right now. The door is being left open for him.”
Fennelly, an under-21 All-Ireland medal winner in 2008, broke into the team during the National League. He featured in the final against Dublin and retained his placed for the three subsequent championship clashes against Wexford, Dublin and Waterford.
It would be a proud day for the Fennelly clan if Colin can join his brother, Michael on the field in Croke Park. In the past his uncles, Liam, Ger, Kevin and Sean featured together on an All-Ireland side (1987) against Galway.
Meanwhile, there was bad news for Kilkenny fans regarding tickets for the big game. Because the minors are not involved in the final this time the county’s allocation of tickets has been sliced by over 3,000.
On top of that, there are fears that the quality of those available might not be the best. Supporters who purchased the new all in pass for National League matches (75 Euro) have been guaranteed tickets for the All-Ireland.
These people will be accommodated in the central areas of the Cusack Stand, apparently. In the region of 800 such passes were purchased in Kilkenny alone.