Shefflin and Power boost Kilkenny's Tribal test
Henry Shefflin and Richie Power are both available to Kilkenny for their Leinster SHC semi-final with Galway in Tullamore on Sunday.
Shefflin and Power missed the quarter-final win over Offaly in Nowlan Park last week – Shefflin as he recovered from a stress fracture in his left foot, Power from a hamstring injury.
In their absence Kilkenny still racked up their highest ever score in a championship match under Brian Cody, their 5-32 eclipsing the 6-28 accumulated against Offaly in the 2005 Leinster semi-final.
Both players have trained since the last game and look set to be available for selection. Kilkenny are also hopeful that TJ Reid, who sustained a knee injury against Offaly and was forced off after 57 minutes, will have recovered.
Shefflin felt pain in his left foot in the days after the league final win over Tipperary and was diagnosed with a stress fracture, something he suffered at much the same stage of last season.
His foot was placed in a protective boot for two weeks but it appears he has made a good recovery this time. Kilkenny may resist making too many changes to the team that started against Offaly, though Brian Kennedy, their debutant corner-back, may come under some pressure after being replaced by Kieran Joyce after 27 minutes in Nowlan Park.
Galway can expect to select from the same squad that struggled past Laois in the last round with Niall Healy (cruciate) and Cyril Donnellan (groin) long-term absentees.
Elsewhere, Clare's second round championship hurling fixtures will go ahead next weekend despite a request from the senior management for them to be called off as the focus switches to qualifiers.
In a significant move at last night's Clare County Board decided to stick with the original plan to play second round games.
Clare are involved in qualifiers a week earlier than the Munster final.