Season over for ‘Mr Unfortunate’

INJURY has once again destroyed the season for the ‘Mr Unfortunate’ of the Kilkenny senior hurling panel.

INJURY has once again destroyed the season for the ‘Mr Unfortunate’ of the Kilkenny senior hurling panel.

For the third successive year, injury has pole-axed powerfully built defender, P.J. Delaney, and he won’t play again until the 2012 season.

“I just have to accept the situation and get on with it,” was the brave, calm way the Fenians (Johnstown) man accepted the latest setback to his injury plagued career.

“I have plenty of experience of being injured and I am up for the fight to recover.”

The 27-year-old had surgery to repair a hip injury on Friday. And the likelihood is that he will require a second operation in a few months time to correct a similar problem with the other hip.

“The battle to recover is not daunting,” P.J. told the ’People. “The effort that will be required doesn’t scare me or anything like that. But it is another season gone, wiped.

Hard to take

“That is three years in-a-row. That is hard to take. During the last three years I haven’t been able to play all the local league matches with my club, and I won’t be doing it this time either.

“It is frustrating, but I won’t let it beat me.”

Last year the four times senior All-Ireland medal winner broke his left leg. The year before that he fractured an ankle.

On top of that he has had operations in 2006 and 2007 to repair serious groin problems, all of which robbed months and months from his career during some of the prime years of his career.

“I have always been battling this groin problem,” P.J. explained. “I was playing and resting, playing and resting but I could never get a good run at things. I have to believe the future will be better for me.”

Delaney, a stylish wing or centre-back, felt he was making progress this season when he again broke into the first XV. However, once the training picked up for the championship the pain he was enduring increased.

He knew he was in trouble.

Weeks before the Leinster championship clash with Wexford he was in what he described as “cruel pain”. He was sent to orthopaedic surgeon Tadhg Crowley, who referred him to top specialist Mr Pat Carton.

Excess bone in socket

Following a series of x-rays and MRI scans Delaney’s problem was traced to the hip, where excess bone in the socket joint was apparently throwing out the alignment of the mid-body area.

On Friday he had surgery in the Whitfield Clinic, Waterford to correct the problem in his left hip. In a few months time a like operation will be carried out on his right hip.

“Hopefully this will cure all my long standing injury problems,” P.J. said. “I often ran out in pain for training. It is what you do because you want to play.”

The recovery period after each operation is four months at least, so Delaney faces a length period of inactivity.

“The main pain was in the left side, but Mr Carton told me the right hip was deteriorating almost as quickly as the left,” he explained.

Pain and injury have been part of the sporting life of P.J. Delaney since he joined the Kilkenny panel in 2006. He laughed when he recalled the Thursday evening manager, Brian Cody rang to invite him to join the squad.

“The next day I was with the doctor and he told me I needed the first groin operation,” P.J. recalled. “I have been dogged by injuries since then.

“I have had a great time all the same. When I can play hurling I love it. I have been unfortunate.

“It would be great if this works. The body can only take so much, and I have put it through a fair bit of punishment over the past few years. But I would love one injury free season just to see what I could really do.”

All players training

Meanwhile, all the rest of the troops were involved in the training at Nowlan Park last night (Tuesday) when the history making seven in-a-row Leinster champions continued their preparations for the All-Ireland semi-final on August 7.

It was confirmed that Henry Shefflin had recovered from the worst effects of a recent knee problem, and J.J. Delaney was ready to motor at full pace again.

“We are training to get ourselves right,” was the comment from selector, Martin Fogarty when asked about the fact that Kilkenny don’t yet know their opponents. “Whoever we meet from the Qualifiers will be the best team. That is what we are preparing for, to meet the best.”

On a brighter note, Aidan Fogarty (ankle) and John Tennyson (second cruciate) have stepped up their involvement in the training. While both are a long way from full fitness and are making what has been termed “a graded return”, they are heading in the right direction.