Richie Hogan got through full game with Danesfort
It was a decent week all round for Kilkenny clubs, and for the county too.
The clubs saw much wanted action in the local senior and intermediate hurling leagues.
It was mid-week fare on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week and crowd sizes were average enough, but at least the long, long break until the next series of games has been shortened.
The summer break because of inter-county activities including the Leinster senior hurling round robin series stretched to 17 weeks last season, which didn’t go down at all well with clubs.
This time the gap has been narrowed to 14 weeks. Action will resume in the top two leagues on the weekend of August 31/September 1.
The situation is not exactly ideal for clubs, but there was some acceptance in the fact their voice was listened to and helpful changes were made.
Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, and his selectors Michael Dempsey, James McGarry and Derek Lyng had a litany of injuries to deal with before the third round of club matches were played.
There were fears at club level that because of the glut of injuries, the agreed third round of matches would be called off, which might have happened in other counties.
Not here! The pre-arranged programme was adhered to.
For the selectors it was fingers crossed situation during the club matches.
You know, everything worked out fine, indeed, better than fine.
Seven players nursing injuries were involved in the action.
The big return was that of Kilkenny captain of last season, Cillian Buckley. He played his first match since last September when helping Dicksboro against Danesfort.
He has been troubled by a knee injury for months. He did well, but he will need time to get back up to the speed of the inter-county game.
Richie Hogan, who has been trouble by a back injury for ages, got through the full game with Danesfort. Again, he did well.
There was a surprise return for ankle injury victim James Maher with St Lachtain’s. He wasn’t expected back for weeks, but he played half a game and looked good, if short on fitness.
There was good news too concerning Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own). He didn’t see any on field action, but he has resumed running after a leg injury.
He is weeks ahead on the recovery schedule, apparently. He has a way to go, but to be where is now is a big plus for player and county.
Walter Walsh (hamstring) and Alan Murphy (ankle) didn’t finish the most recent Leinster game against Carlow, but both saw action with their club and they got through it fine.
News surrounding Joey Holden (hamstring) is good too. He didn’t play for Ballyhale Shamrocks against James Stephens last week, but that was more precautionary than anything else. He is ready to go.
All-Star goalie, Eoin Murphy, has cast his crutches aside and is doing well as he works his way back from a broken bone in his leg. Again his recovery is ahead of schedule.
There were genuine concerns that Kilkenny were taking a risk in playing club match during the Leinster championship.
In terms of injuries and getting game time into some players, things worked out.
The league tables also took on a most interesting look after the action.
Every club has registered at least one win now. Placings in the tables have really tightened up, and the stakes will be high in all matches in the remaining two rounds.
Imagine, the All-Ireland club champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks prop up Group B. Where else would it happen?
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.