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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 21 June, 2018

Michael Fennelly's return from injury and how Davy Fitzgerald's ban will affect Wexford

Cillian Buckley has been assessing Kilkenny’s prospects as they prepare to defend their Leinster crown.

PRESUMING WEXFORD WIN their Leinster opener against a round-robin qualifier at the end of May, they’ll take on reigning provincial champions Kilkenny in the Leinster SHC semi-final.

One man who won’t be patrolling the sideline that day is Davy Fitzgerald. The Wexford boss was slapped with an eight-week suspension by the GAA this morning for his actions during Wexford’s defeat to Tipperary last Sunday.

Davy Fitzgerald reacts near the end of the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Fitzgerald was involved in heated exchanges with Tipperary’s Jason Forde and Niall O’Meara in the league semi-final, and the suspension means he’ll miss out on a likely provincial semi-final by a matter of hours.

Kilkenny midfielder Cillian Buckley doesn’t feel the ban will hamper Wexford’s preparation for the upcoming Leinster campaign.

“I couldn’t see it having too much of an effect over the next few weeks,” says Buckley.

“Davy is still the Wexford manager. He’ll have them prepared for their first round match at the end of May and maybe to play us, or whoever it be, two or three weeks later. I couldn’t see it having too much of an effect.”

How does Buckley think he’d have reacted if the Clare man squared up to him on the field?

“I don’t know. I suppose you have enough to be at on the field without having to take on the manager as well.

“Davy is great, you get great energy from him – when you’re not involved in the games anyway. It’s great to look at him.

“I never thought I’d get to have a go at Davy, I thought his days were over, but he obviously still fancies himself (on the field),” he added tongue-in-cheek.

Cillian Buckley Cillian Buckley was in Croke Park for the launch of the Beko Club Bua award scheme. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“From my own perspective against Wexford, he brings this huge energy. You can see the players feed off him. That’s his style of management. He has an impact on every team he’s been involved with.”

On the injury front, Michael Fennelly has resumed light training with the squad but Buckley believes the Leinster semi-final will come too soon for the Ballyhale Shamrocks midfielder.

Fennelly ruptured his Achilles tendon in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat of Waterford and he’s nearing the end of his lengthy rehabilitation period.

“He’s back on the pitch with us,” says Buckley. “He’s still not involved with any heavy work or hurling training matches. He’s still working away on his own.

“I think June might come too quick for him. That’s the nature of every injury. It could come right in a week or two, we’re hoping so.

“He’s shuffling, I’d say. He’s moving anyway. He’s back on the pitch, he’s back in a hurling boot. That was the aim for now anyway.

“I’m not sure if it’s on track for June but it’s great to see him back out there. When you talk about leaders, he’s head of the pack in that sense. Even his presence alone has lifted everything in the last few weeks.”

Source: The42 GAA/SoundCloud

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Kevin O'Brien

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