Shefflin set for surprise return to fray for Kilkenny
THE king is back. Any doubts about Henry Shefflin's appetite for his 16th senior season in the Kilkenny colours were allayed when it was revealed that he is making surprise early return to action tomorrow.
The Ballyhale legend (above) has been included in the Cats' starting line-up for the Walsh Cup semi-final against Galway. It was not expected that his season would begin so early but this is being taken as a sign of his hunger to lead Kilkenny back to the top of the hurling pile and win his 10th All-Ireland medal.
Shefflin's 2013 was marred by serious injury and his broken foot meant that he missed the first championship game of his career but he gave Kilkenny a huge boost by recovering to come off the bench against Tipperary.
However, his and Kilkenny's summer ended in huge disappointment when he was sent off for the first time in his inter-county career in their All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Cork, a dismissal that was subsequently rescinded.
Word of Shefflin's return spread quickly last night. He will be part of an experienced half-forward line which also includes Colin Fennelly and Eoin Larkin but Kilkenny's full-forward line of Jonjo Farrell, Mark Kelly and Liam Ryan is very inexperienced.
Brian Hogan returns at centre-back to anchor the defence while newcomers Shane Prendergast, Michael Walsh and Joey Holden are all retained from last week's team.
KILKENNY (SH v Galway) – E Murphy; S Prendergast, M Walsh, C Fogarty; J Holden, B Hogan, P Murphy; A Fogarty, P Phelan; H Shefflin, C Fennelly, E Larkin; JJ Farrell, M Kelly, L Ryan.