Ballyhale defeat has a silver lining for Cats

Martin breheny

IT may have been an ill wind for Ballyhale Shamrocks but their defeat by Oulart-The Ballagh in the Leinster club hurling semi-final might blow a whole lot of good towards the Kilkenny county team.

Henry Shefflin (pictured) had to come off with an ankle injury against Oulart last Saturday and if Ballyhale had won he would have had to miss this Sunday's final with Kilcormac-Killoughey.

If Ballyhale had won the Leinster final, Shefflin would, as is his wont, have pushed himself through the pain barrier to try and be ready for the All-Ireland semi-final in February.

After that, the final on St Patrick's Day might have beckoned.

Instead, Shefflin can give the injured ankle every chance to heal and then ease himself slowly into 2013, free from the pressure of the club championship.

It sounds very much like a route which will leave him fresh and ready to go for the pursuit of a 10th All-Ireland medal with Kilkenny.