TJ Reid and Adrian Mullen to return for Kilkenny for league final
DEREK LYNG will be able to call on more of Kilkenny's big hitters in the coming weeks as TJ Reid and Adrian Mullen near a return to full fitness.
The Cats booked their place in the Division 1 HL final when disposing of Cork in Nowlan Park yesterday and the Ballyhale Shamrocks duo could be in the mix in a fortnight's time as they face Limerick in a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final.
"They've been working really hard away from it and they're getting closer to being ready for action so we'll see how they are in the next couple of weeks. We want a competitive squad, a lot of lads put their hands up again," Lyng said.
"That's what we asked them to do, we said to 'grab the jersey when you have it' and we're seeing that competition coming through with the lads coming back and that's exactly where we want to be."
It's not certain when Reid's younger brother Richie, skipper last season, will be back in black and amber, though, with the stylish centre-back suffering the effects of concussion in recent weeks.
“It was serious enough to keep him out until now. We thought he was feeling a bit better but, again, just a few symptoms during the week so we weren’t taking any chances with him," Lyng said.
"We just have to keep an eye on him but, at the minute, he’s feeling a little bit better than he was during the week so hopefully he’ll be back in the reckoning as well."
Having played alongside him in the latter stages of his career, Lyng was delighted to see Richie Hogan back in action against the Rebels as the 2014 Hurler of the Year made his first competitive start in nearly two and a half years.
The Danesfort dynamo, 34, has been limited to cameo appearances in recent years due to a host of injuries but he showed many glimpses of class before being withdrawn after 50 minutes with a point to his name.
“Richie’s worked really hard. He was close to being back a few weeks ago and a couple of things went against him but now he’s back, showed what he’s about and there’s no question, super attitude about Richie all year and it’s great to see him back out there."
Captain Eoin Cody and Billy Ryan didn't feature against Cork, though, and the attacking pair will be touch and go for the League decider against John Kiely's Treaty. “Nothing too serious," Lyng said of their injuries. "Whether two weeks’ time might be a little bit tight, I’m not sure yet, we’ll have to assess them but other than that we’re only looking at two or three weeks."