THERE has been nothing but injuries, injuries, injuries in the Kilkenny hurling camp of late, and two more players picked up knocks at the weekend.
However, barring any futher setback they will both be fit for the Leinster hurling semi-final against either Dublin or Laois in Portlaois on June 23.
Towering central defender, Brian Hogan, pulled a quadricep muscle when doing stretching exercises before the senior hurling league clash between O’Loughlin Gaels and James Stephens at Nowlan Park on Saturday evening.
Last year’s All-Ireland winning captain looked in considerable pain for a while afterwards, and there were serious doubts as to whether or not he might be able to play.
Hogan, who moved with a pronounced limp at times, somehow dragged himself through what was a very competitive match although a quad muscle had been torn. The game ended in a draw.
The 31-year-old won’t be involved in the Kilkenny training in Nowlan Park this week, but in 10 days to a forthnight he should be ready to resume full activities.
One of the new kids on the block, Cillian Buckley, who enjoyed a very promising National League campaign, pulled up during the Dicksboro/Carrickshock match in Dunnmaggin on Friday. He pulled a hamstring, and during the following two days had treatment sessions in the cryotherapy centre in White’s Hotel, Wexford.
It has been confirmed that things are not as bad as feared initially, and he should be back in full training in mid-June.
Meanwhile, Henry Shefflin took another sure step on the road to recovery. He played his first full game in nearly eight months when he started for Ballyhale Shamrocks against St Martin’s in the senior league on Friday.
The eight times All-Ireland medal winner got the full distance without any problem, but, understandably, he looked badly in need of match practice. There is a month to go before the semi-final, and Shefflin needs all that time as he bids to get his hurling touch and reflex actions up to the level required in the championship.
Aidan Fogarty, who has made a quick return after breaking a wrist, sampled action at the weekend too when he played with Kilkenny in a senior hurling challenge against Offaly. He looked sharp, and he will be chasing a place on the team in the championship.
John Tennyson, who last played with the county in the All-Ireland final of 2010, played in this game too and did well, as did Clara’s Lester Ryan, who has recovered after knee surgery.
Meanwhile, Richie Power (knee cartilage) and Michael Rice (tendonitis of the knee) are still sidelined with injuries. The next 10 days could be crucial for them, because they will need to get in some hurling before the semi-final.
Hurler of the year, Michael Fennelly (broken bone in ankle) has no hope of featuring in the Leinster championship.