Tuesday 25 July 2017

Fennelly vows to battle on despite chronic back trouble

Michael Fennelly intends to be back in the saddle with Kilkenny next year
Michael Fennelly intends to be back in the saddle with Kilkenny next year
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Don't ask. Because the truth is Michael Fennelly doesn't know how long more his back will give him. He doesn't know how much longer he can chase the dream.

It's his intention to be back in the saddle with Kilkenny next year but the potential for Ballyhale Shamrocks' campaign to run and run is very real.

That wouldn't help his back but then a complete rest wouldn't make much difference either.

"This year was massively difficult again," Fennelly said at the launch of Chia Bia's plant-based Omega 3 Chia Oil. "I got numerous injections, the back triggered off two or three times during the year.

"I was very fortunate to have actually played the three games I did. It was actually a bug that caught me out for the Leinster final, it wasn't actually an injury but in saying that I was carrying an injury and don't think I would have lasted the game.

"I'm not too concerned about a break, obviously my body does need it and it would be excellent to get but in saying that this whole back problem seems to have its own mind. And no matter what I probably do it is just going to probably cause me trouble."

Hassle

The smallest of things give him hassle. Every year around April and May, just as the ground starts to harden, his back gives problems. As the year drags on and winter closes in, the cold weather also gets into his bones. Every day he walks around with a vague ache. As far as his future in hurling goes, he can only work on a day-to-day basis.

"I'd say next year we'll just see how it goes again. Look, obviously I'm looking forward to next year again and that. We'll just go day by day, week by week really, that's all we can do.

"Every April or May something seems to happen, whether it's an ankle injury or a back injury, it always happens. I'm used to it now but you can't keep going like that forever.

"Obviously I'm 30 years of age now, I'd love to get another three or four years in but it just depends on injuries and the body to be honest."

Right now he's happy to try and limp through and win what he can while he can but down the line, he's going to have to make a decision based on his long-term well-being rather than his immediate goals.

Next year he'll go in search of a ninth All-Ireland medal but there were times this year when he didn't think things would work out for them.

"That's one fear I did have," Fennelly adds. "Some training sessions weren't going as well as other years but I suppose you have to take a step back and say we are missing all those big players who were stand-out players and that's not there yet. But hopefully that will come."

Irish Independent

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