All clear for Hurler of the Year as Henry hope dashed
Tommy Walsh in, Henry Shefflin definitely out.
That was the news from Kilkenny last night as they resumed training for the eagerly awaited All-Ireland final with Tipperary in three weeks' time.
An X-ray revealed that Hurler of the Year Walsh had sustained no major damage in a collision with county colleague Jackie Tyrrell in a club match over the weekend.
But Kilkenny have moved to quash speculation that Shefflin could yet play some part against Tipperary next month.
Selector Martin Fogarty said yesterday that Shefflin "hadn't a hope" of figuring in the decider.
Fogarty describes Walsh's injury as "similar to Brian Hogan's".
That's damage to the AC joint in the shoulder and Walsh has been intensively applying ice to the area affected since it happened on Saturday when he was playing for Tullaroan in a county league match against James Stephens.
Fogarty admitted these were "tough times" for the champions as the injuries mounted up but their focus remained on getting the fittest team possible on the pitch for the Tipperary game.
Effectively, only those who train next week are likely to be considered for starting places.
Shefflin's visit to renowned sports injury specialist Gerard Hartmann last week for consultation had triggered hope that he may be involved in the All-Ireland final -- he isn't considering surgery until after the Tipperary clash.
"Maybe it will be a case, just like JJ Delaney four years ago, that Henry won't need an operation," said Fogarty. "When JJ went for surgery it was established that the ligament wasn't completely gone and that the most prudent thing was not to do anything with it.
"But the stronger a knee is, the better it is to cope without an operation and that's why Henry is currently taking this route. The same with John Tennyson.
"Unless there's a miracle -- and we're not expecting one -- Henry won't be playing."
"Brian Hogan is not out of the woods yet either but his prospects are improving," continued Fogarty.
Between Shefflin, Walsh, Hogan, Tennyson and Michael Rice, Kilkenny's injury problems have been mounting in recent weeks and Fogarty accepted that it "made things more difficult".
"But it's a great challenge and I'm sure everybody is looking forward to it," he stressed.