Comerford return a lift for injury-hit Kilkenny
FORMER All Star forward Martin Comerford will return to Kilkenny's senior hurling panel next week. The O'Loughlin Gaels stalwart has not played a competitive game for the county this year after his club contested the All-Ireland final on St Patrick's Day.
Club-mate and county captain Brian Hogan made an immediate return to the Kilkenny set-up, but Comerford took an extended break.
There had been some speculation that Comerford (32) would not return, but sources close to the player have indicated that it was always his intention to take a break following the club campaign.
With a round of club fixtures this weekend, Kilkenny's players have been given a week off to lick their wounds following last Sunday's 12-point defeat against Dublin in the Allianz League final.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny legend Eddie Keher has admitted that the team could be reaching the end of an era and face an uphill battle to even make an impact in the Leinster championship.
"We're coming to the end of a great era of Kilkenny players," said Keher. "The recurring injuries and the spate of them are indicative of a good long 10 years of great hurling.
"Every match now we seem to be going out and getting fresh injuries all of the time. We're struggling and if we're to make an impression, we need to have a full panel to pick from. You need 25 good lads back to full fitness to make it through this year, even in Leinster.
"The strength of Dublin cannot be under-estimated. I don't know how any team would have lived with them last Sunday."
There was, however, some bad news for Dublin yesterday as Joey Boland ruled himself out of their Leinster SHC opener with Offaly on May 29 after suffering a dislocated shoulder against Kilkenny.
Boland has been advised to rest for eight weeks, which could also rule him out of a Leinster semi-final against Galway on June 18 should Dublin get past Offaly.