A glut of injuries threaten bid for 15th League crown

THE draining effects of injuries are threatening to derail Kilkenny’s bid for what would be a 15th National Hurling League title.

THE draining effects of injuries are threatening to derail Kilkenny’s bid for what would be a 15th National Hurling League title.

The Cats booked a place in the showdown against Cork on Sunday week in Thurles when beating Division IB champions, Clare, with a slimmed down panel shorn of six players through injury.

On top of long term injury victims Henry Shefflin (shoulder), Richie Hogan (ribs) and Lester Ryan (cartilage), Michael Rice, Noel Hickey and Aidan Fogarty sat out the action at the weekend.

Rookies called up

While management are pleased with the trickle through of talent to the first team, rookies Padraig Walsh, brother of Tommy, and Tomás Breen were called up for duty on Sunday to bolster the stretched squad, while Paddy Hogan, who was nursing a hamstring strain, was a late addition to the reserves.

Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, said he hoped a couple of the players would be back in action with their clubs in the local leagues this weekend, but if they don’t make it then they will most likely miss the Cork clash.

Speedy attacker Aidan Fogarty is a definite non-started for the League final. He fractured his left wrist during training last week and he could be facing up to six weeks of inactivity.

“It is a bit of a downer getting injured again after losing so much time last season, but I will just have to put up with it,” the Emeralds (Urlingford) man said of his latest bit of misfortune.

Herculean effort

Around this time last year Fogarty, a six times senior All-Ireland medal winner, was battling to recover from a broken ankle. After a Herculean effort he got back in contention in the squad for the All-Ireland final against Tipperary, but he didn’t sample any action.

“In a best case scenario I might get back in four weeks, but I would need a little luck,” Fogarty added.

The wrist was put in a splint rather than plaster of Paris to avoid muscle wastage, which should help shorten the recovery period if the player is careful and avoids getting another knock on the wrist.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was told the wrist was fractured,” Aidan explained. “After all I went through last year it was a real sickener. It is still very sore and I have little power in the hand.

“I have been told that when the recovery starts things should move along quickly.”

The 30-year-old will miss Emeralds next two intermediate league games against St Lachtain’s (Freshford) and All-Ireland junior club champions, St Patrick’s (Ballyragget), but he hopes to be back for the third round on May 19 against Young Irelands (Gowran).