Fennelly admits 'time is ticking' in bid for fitness
KILKENNY midfielder Michael Fennelly has acknowledged his state of fitness has deteriorated alarmingly over the last two months as he battles with a long-term ankle injury.
Fennelly, who made his comeback against Waterford on Saturday night when he came on as a second-half substitute, admits he is still not training near maximum capacity and that remains a concern for him ahead of Sunday week's All-Ireland quarter-final against Cork.
"Would I last 70 minutes or would I better coming on? I'm not sure," he said yesterday. A complication involving a tendon that flared up when he returned to training prior to the drawn Leinster semi-final against Dublin set him back further.
"I have been off training the last eight or nine weeks and not doing a whole lot, to be honest. I was doing a bit of swimming but I probably stopped that the last two or three weeks there. But that's all I could do.
"It is a lot different to running around a hurling field and lads hitting off you. Hopefully this week I will be able to get a bit of training done and build up the fitness, but obviously time is ticking."
Fennelly's powerhouse displays have been instrumental in Kilkenny reasserting their dominance since Tipperary broke their grip on All-Ireland titles three years ago.
But he acknowledged that two bad ankles injuries in successive years have had an impact on him.
When he turned badly on his left ankle in a club league match for Ballyhale Shamrocks in the middle of May, not long after hitting 2-3 against Tipperary in the league, he thought it might just be a matter of weeks before he came back.
"But as it went on, more complications started appearing," he explained. "Initially when I did it, I did it bad. I knew myself it was bad, but it is on the mend now. It's been a long time since I have been training so I just have to be patient.
"I'm not training. Any player that doesn't train for two weeks, your fitness does actually drop quite quickly after those two or three weeks.
"It's been over two months for myself so I need to get training, I need to get games into me and obviously time is not there. So it's whatever I can do in the meantime, just do it and get the head right and do what you can."