Henry Shefflin is on the way back. The Ballyhale Shamrocks attacker dipped his toe in the competitive hurling waters for the first time in eight months on Saturday -- and he did very well.
The eight times All-Ireland medal winner has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since the Kilkenny county final replay last October, but he returned to action at the weekend when helping Shamrocks to a commanding 5-18 to 2-8 win over Dunnamaggin in the second round of the league.
"He did well and was very involved," said Jim Freeman, secretary of the Kilkenny GAA Supporters Club. "Obviously he has a long way to go, but as starts go this was a good one."
Shefflin scored two points and also created a goal for Mark Aylward during his near 20-minute involvement. He will get an opportunity to add to his game time when Shamrocks play St Martin's (Muckalee) in the third round of the league this weekend.
There was additional good news for Kilkenny manager Brian Cody when JJ Delaney turned out with Fenians (Johnstown).
Delaney was forced off with a dead leg at half-time during the National League final against Cork.
Kilkenny open the defence of their All-Ireland crown in the Leinster SHC semi-finals on June 23 against Dublin, Laois or Carlow.
Meanwhile, Clarinbridge, All-Ireland club champions 12months ago, have been surprisingly knocked of the Galway SHC as they fell victim to a new structure in the championship.
This year Galway introduced a new system with a knockout series of matches before going into a group formation and the 2011 All-Ireland champions were sent packing when they went down by 1-14 to 1-9 to Mullagh.
Clarinbridge lost their first round game to Beagh and then yesterday came up short in a backdoor clash as a Craig Finnerty goal put Mullagh on their way.