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Royal return aim for Kenny

SEAMUS KENNY hasn't watched the footage of the incident which left his season and left knee in tatters and put him at the bottom of a mountain of arduous rehabilitation. Nor, he says "will I ever look at it".

Like many cruciate injuries, the circumstances were largely innocuous. Scampering into the corner-back spot in pursuit of Seánie Furlong, Kenny toe-poked the ball out of the Wicklow full-forward's grasp and then again from another forward when the full weight of the player landed awkwardly on the Meath captain's knee.

"I felt nothing," Kenny told the Herald. "My knee just felt weird rather than anything else. It felt like I had strained something but I tried running around for a while. In terms of pain, I felt absolutely nothing."

Kenny played on for a couple of minutes but succumbed to the discomfort and was subbed after just 10 minutes.

Yet neither he nor team physio Trevor Giles were prepared for the extent of the result of the scan he underwent in Santry the following Monday evening.

"He was nearly in as much shock as I was when we found out it was the cruciate because he were talking about it and I had no pain whatsoever.

"In my own mind I was thinking, 'I'm not too bad here'. I thought maybe there would be a little bit of medial damage.

"But once I got the phonecall and I heard the word 'cruciate', I was totally devastated about the whole thing."

He met Ray Moran two days later and that, he says, was the moment when the reality of his dire situation set in.

Meath trained the night before but he hadn't the heart to be around his team-mates knowing what was in front of him.

"It would have been the first time we got together since the Wicklow game," he says.

"I just couldn't bring myself to go to training. I texted Seamus and told him I couldn't speak to anyone."

At 32, Kenny insists he retains hope of donning the Meath jersey again but having suffered the cursed injury previously as a 17-year-old, he's acutely aware of the workload which faces him.

"You play all year around so you can play championship and then, seven minutes into it, it's over.

"I would hate to think that seven minutes of championship against Wicklow would be my last game for Meath.

"I harbour ambitions of playing for Meath again. I would hate to think that my career ended with my season the way it did."

He adds: "When you're younger, you don't have any fear. But having gotten through it already, I know exactly what it's going to take to get back again.

"It's not a great positive to take, but it's pretty much the only one that's going at the moment."

Kenny has been replaced as on-field captain by Shane McAnarney but he says McEnaney has asked him to be part of their summer in a different, as yet unspecified, guise.

Meath have, Kenny admits "gone back to basics in terms of everything" they have been doing on both the training field and the pitch but, despite the local expectation that a Leinster semi-final with recent oppressors Kildare looms large, Sunday's meeting with Carlow isn't one they're taking lightly.

"It's well documented the way the league went for us and subsequent events," he notes.

"I think, if anything, it has focused the players and everyone else in the set-up as to what's in hand.

"So, not for one minute could we take Carlow lightly," Kenny concludes.