Kilkenny have received a shot in the arm in advance of their vital Leinster Senior Hurling Championship match against Dublin, with the return of Tommy Walsh.
The eight-time All-Star expects to be ready for the provincial decider at Croke Park, which is a repeat of this year’s Allianz Hurling League final.
Walsh has been sidelined for the Cats since damaging the AC joint in his left shoulder against Waterford in March. He aggravated the injury in a club game for Tullaroan a month later.
Having resumed full training with Kilkenny last week, the influential defender said: “It’s all systems go. I’m back into the games and all. I’ve two weeks now to get it right.
“I ran into Jackie (Tyrrell) in a club game last year and did my left shoulder. This year I hurt my right one against Richie Foley, and then I hurt my left one again in a club game (last month).”
The shoulder injuries, caused by repeated collisions, have understandably frustrated Walsh who is entering his ninth Championship campaign with the Cats.
The 28-year-old, speaking at the launch of the adidas adipower Predator boot, admitted: “I don’t know whether it’s just misfortune, or if it will keep happening. But please God once I have them built up a bit they should be grand. I’m not sure of the medical reasons behind it.
“It didn’t dislocate or pop out so it would be a worry if that was happening. I think I was just unlucky. Over the winter I will have to build up the shoulders so I’ll be okay going forward.”
Walsh is doubly determined to face the Dubs after sitting out Kilkenny’s semi-final victory over Wexford - that was the first Championship match he has missed since making his debut in 2003.
“Hopefully I’ll be alright for the Leinster final. I’m back training since last week, so it will depend on how this week goes as regards training.
“But Brian Cody and the management are the only fellas that would be able to answer you that,” he added.