Shefflin in line for return to Kilkenny action at weekend
HENRY SHEFFLIN could be set for a return to the Kilkenny fold for the first time since last year's All-Ireland final in a challenge game this weekend.
The Cats travel to Clara to take on Offaly on Sunday and the Ballyhale talisman could feature at some stage for Brian Cody's side, provided he comes through tomorrow night's club game against St Martin's unscathed.
Shefflin made his return to competitive action following a shoulder injury with his club last weekend when he played the final quarter against Dunamaggin.
And he is now in line for an appearance in Kilkenny colours in Sunday evening's game, which throws-in at 6.30.
And while Kilkenny look set to welcome back one of their most influential players, Eoin Larkin warned that Tipperary will be a much more dangerous proposition with Lar Corbett back in the fold.
The Cats captain always expected Corbett to make a return and described him as one of the "top forwards in the country" after he returned to training on Tuesday night.
"I always thought he would be back," Larkin said. "I didn't think he would just walk away like that. Declan Ryan has managed to coax him back and his business commitments have died down a bit.
"I think it'll make a huge difference. He's one of the top forwards in the country at the moment and if Tipp had to lose him he'd have been a huge loss."
Kilkenny have had well-documented injury problems, with regulars like Shefflin, Noel Hickey, Michael Fennelly and Richie Power battling with various knocks and Larkin agrees the Cats will need an injury-free summer to defend their title.
"We always seem to get injuries around this time. Hopefully, they'll be able to get back before the championship starts and stay injury-free.
"It was as bad this time last year and probably two years ago as well but they cleared up fairly quick and hopefully it'll be the same this year."
Larkin was speaking as he picked up his award for the Opel GAA/GPA Player of the Month for the Cats' successful league campaign, where Cork's Colm O'Neill was the football recipient of the award.
Gaelic Player's Association chief executive Dessie Farrell confirmed that the footballers All Stars tour will visit New York this year.
Last year, the hurlers visited San Francisco amidst fears the tour may come to an end due to financial constraints.
"The tour will be reviewed on a year-by-year basis but, to be fair, Opel have been a great sponsor," Farrell commented. "I think they are in it for the long haul."