WATERFORD football manager Niall Carew has been handed a massive boost with the news that star attacker Gary Hurney will return to the senior squad in January, following minor surgery.
The dual star is one of the finest footballers in the country and has represented Munster on a number of occasions as well as playing inter-county senior hurling in the recent past. Hurney's will be the first name on Carew's team sheet when he returns to training in six weeks' time.
The new manager has received a setback, however, with the news that another interprovincial player, Thomas O'Gorman, could miss up to six months with a troublesome shoulder injury. O'Gorman, twin brother of fellow defender Maurice, has been ruled out of Waterford's entire NFL campaign after dislocating his shoulder on a number of occasions while on club duty.
The versatile back most recently played through the pain barrier as The Nire lost by a point to Stradbally in the Waterford SFC final replay.
While his loss will be sorely felt, talented young free-taker Paul Whyte has been added to the panel after a tremendous club campaign with Kilrossanty.
And after over a year on the sidelines, the team's highly-respected goalkeeper Tom Wall has received a recall from the new management.
Another veteran, Shane Briggs, has returned to training while star attacker Liam ó Lionáin also features in a new-look panel which has been placed on strength and conditioning programmes in the past fortnight.
The side will target promotion from Division 4 and go straight into a Munster semi-final where they will face the winners of Kerry and Tipperary.
Meanwhile, all hurling and football managements will have to monitor their costs closely after the county board recently incurred a loss of €16,662 from a Jedward-headlined concert alone. The concert, held last July, cost €40,387 to run but failed to live up to expectations.
Overall, the board reported a loss of €212,271 in their annual accounts which were presented to last week's annual convention in Dungarvan.