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Michael Fennelly
Michael Fennelly

Michael Fennelly in a race against time to prove fitness

By John Harrington

Kilkenny star Michael Fennelly admits he’s in a race against time to be fit to play in the Round 1 of the All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers on July 1. 

The midfielder missed the Leinster SHC Semi-Final defeat to Wexford after his comeback from a ruptured Achilles was put on hold when he aggravated the tendon in training.

“I just aggravated the Achilles there a few weeks ago and I'm just waiting for it to settle down so I can get back training,” said Fennelly today at Centra’s #WeAreHurling All-Ireland SHC launch.

“It's a set-back, but that's part and parcel of these long injuries. Anytime you get a long injury, a cruciate or an achilles, normally it kicks off something else, whether that's a hamstring or a groin.

“I'm just trying to get it right now as soon as possible and get back training. But it's proving difficult at the moment.

“It's stopping me from hurling, that's the killer thing. It's frustrating because the game is coming up Saturday week so I'm trying to get back for that, fingers crossed, but, obviously with little training done.”

Fennelly had made a return to action at club level with Ballyhale Shamrocks before he aggravated the Achilles, but doesn’t think he pushed things too hard by making his comeback when he did.

“No, I've just been pushing it normal. Just obviously back hurling with the club, and a lot of that is high-intensity stopping and starting and that's where the achilles is going to be really utilised. 

“So probably just ended up fatiguing it and just probably driving on a bit too much on it. As I said, it's the norm, you're trying to get back for hte Wexford game and put yourself in contention. It happens.

“It was really positive to get a club game under the belt and play the full game. But, realistically I suppose yeah, maybe it would have been better to scale that back a small bit more.

“But, look, hindsight is a great thing. It just needs to settle down and then I'll get back to it again hopefully.”

Michael Fennelly ruptured his achilles tendon in Saturdays All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final replay victory over Waterford.
Michael Fennelly ruptured his achilles tendon in Saturdays All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final replay victory over Waterford.

Fennelly admits Kilkenny were deservedly beaten by Wexford in the Leinster semi-final but is hopeful they have plenty of room for improvement ahead of the Qualifiers.

“I suppose Wexford stood up to what they did in the League in Nowlan Park," he said. "And our players, we drove seven or eight wides in the first half. 

“If we had converted a quarter or half of them it would have made it easier going in at half-time, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. 

“They got a goal in the second-half that swung momentum their way as well. And they the better team on the day to be fair, we've no complaints. A few of our players didn't perform as well as we hoped, and they know that.

“But it was still an honest effort. Everyone put in 100 per cent but it just didn't go the right way for some of the players. Hopefully now we'll get a bit more out of the coming weeks.”

As a long-standing sponsor of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Centra has launched #WeAreHurling, which celebrates the passion displayed by all of those in Ireland’s collective hurling community. #WeAreHurling reinforces Centra’s commitment to local communities across Ireland by shining a light on the many people who devote their lives to the game – making our national sport a pillar of Irish pride.

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