FORMER hurler of the year Michael Fennelly suffered what appeared to be a bad injury during a Kilkenny club game last night and he was rushed to hospital.
The driving Ballyhale midfielder turned sharply to contest a ground ball only minutes from the end and twisted his left ankle. Play was halted for nearly five minutes as the player had to be assisted from the field by two club colleagues, and after being treated, was taken to hospital in a jeep that was driven to the side of the pitch.
Fennelly was taken immediately to St Luke's hospital in Kilkenny for x-rays. The opinion afterwards was that Fennelly, the winner of six senior All-Irelands, had suffered serious damage to the ankle.
If the seriousness of the injury is confirmed he would be in danger of missing the June 9 opening Leinster SHC clash against Offaly.
Already this week, Kilkenny lost Henry Shefflin with a foot injury, only days before he was due to make a return after being sidelined with injury since last December. Sources suggested that, had all gone well, Shefflin would have played some part in last night's game against Clara in Thomastown.
Shamrocks suffered their first defeat of the season against the current All-Ireland intermediate champions (1-12 to 1-11).
One player likely to be in action this summer is Tony Browne who made his return to the Waterford colours last night.
Browne's second half appearance against Tipperary in a challenge match at Davin Park, Carrick-on-Suir, appears to have ended any lingering doubts surrounding his intercounty future for this season.
Meanwhile, the Magheracloone player who is facing a proposed eight-week ban after allegedly making sectarian comments to an opponent in a local club match has launched an appeal. The player's case will be heard by Monaghan's Hearings Committee today.
The Monaghan CHC also met late last night to hear an appeal from Drew Wylie, who was the recipient of the alleged verbal abuse.
Wylie was sent off during last weekend's league game, whereupon his Ballybay team-mates took the drastic action of walking straight off the pitch en masse, alleging that he had been on the receiving end of sectarian abuse.
The eight-week ban that was subsequently handed down to his opponent has caused particular controversy.
Magheracloone have said they are withdrawing from all levels of competition in the county until their "player's and club's good name and reputation has been restored."
Elsewhere, Limerick hurling captain Donal O'Grady is expected to make his comeback from a long injury lay-off in tomorrow's hurling challenge match against Kilkenny in Martinstown (7.0).