Clare blow with O'Donnell out for six weeks
The Clare hurlers have been dealt a significant blow with the news that star forward Shane O'Donnell is set to miss at least six weeks through injury.
Joint managers Donal Maloney and Gerry O'Connor confirmed the news last night, stating the 22-year-old éire óg clubman will be out of action until the middle of April at the earliest.
That means the Banner will have to make at least the league semi-finals, which are down for decision on April 16, if O'Donnell is to see any competitive action before their Munster SHC opener against Limerick in Thurles on June 4.
The extent of Oisin O'Brien's injury is not yet know after he was stretchered off in the defeat to Tipperary, while Ben O'Connor is closing in on a return to training after picking up a knee injury last month.
Former Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly has confirmed that he won't be back from injury for Kilkenny until the current league campaign is over.
The 32-year-old celebrated his birthday last week by getting back to jogging after snapping the Achilles tendon in his left ankle in the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Waterford last August.
Fennelly is six months into a recovery which he reckons could take eight months at least, and he ruled out any involvement until the championship.
"The recovery is ongoing," explained the Ballyhale Shamrocks powerhouse. "I will be a while yet. There is no script for a return at the moment. The story is so far, so good."
He is working closely with his medical advisers and the Kilkenny team management.
Elsewhere, the draw for the first round of this year's Dublin SF championship took place last night with the headline pairing being the meeting of last year's All-Ireland club champions Ballyboden St Enda's and Bernard Brogan's Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh - now managed by Paul Curran. Current Dublin and Leinster kingpins St Vincent's will face Round Tower, Clondalkin at the first hurdle.
In the hurling draw, current Dublin champions Cuala have been paired in a group with Ballyboden St Enda's, Crumlin, and Faughs.