Fennelly under pressure for Cats' Qualifier after latest injury setback
KIilkenny star Michael Fennelly is in "a race against time" to be fit for their All-Ireland SHC Qualifier tie on July 1, after suffering a slight hiccup in his recovery from the Achilles tendon rupture suffered against Waterford last August.
The setback came a week after Fennelly made his competitive return for Ballyhale Shamrocks - ruling him out of their Leinster SHC campaign - and the 2011 Hurler of the Year was sorely missed as the Cats suffered a shock Leinster semi-final loss to Wexford.
With questions hanging over Brian Cody's squad as they desperately look to bounce back to winning ways next month, Fennelly's return to fitness would be a major boost, but he concedes it's unlikely that he will see any action in the coming weeks.
"I have a bit of an issue with the Achilles there at the moment, just waiting on it to settle down, a bit of aggravation. That's a small bit frustrating, but hopefully this week it will settle down and I can settle down to doing a small bit of training," Fennelly said as Centra launched their All-Ireland Senior Championship sponsorship and #WeAreHurling campaign.
"It's aggravated at the minute, it's inflamed, it just needs to settle basically. So that's what I'm waiting for at the moment and trying to manage the training load at the moment. I'd be under pressure (for the first round of the Qualifiers). It's a race against time. I'm not really putting any dates on it.
"We just don't really know with it. I'll do a bit of running later on this evening and see where it goes and hopefully push on from there. When you're playing at this level your body needs to be fully healthy. When you're going out to play a game these days you're under a high risk of injury again if you're not at full health.
"If I can get my body some way right then we can see what happens. If the head is right then hopefully the body will come right soon enough."
There's better news for Podge Collins, however, with the Clare attacker declaring himself "100pc fit" for their Munster final date with Cork, after recovering from a chipped bone in his foot during their semi-final defeat of Limerick.
The diminutive dual star is rehabbing the injury and expects to return to full training this week, while Lee Chin confirmed that Wexford team-mate Conor McDonald picked up an ankle knock at the weekend.
"He took a small bit of a knock, I don't know how serious it is at the moment. I hope it's not too serious," Chin said.
Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly Championship podcast, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every Monday, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé, Brendan Cummins and John Mullane.