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Clare's star man targets league comeback: 'It's all going to plan. I just have to ramp up the hurling'

Tony Kelly has missed the Banner’s opening two games against Cork and Wexford.

Tony Kelly.
Tony Kelly.

CLARE STAR TONY Kelly is hopeful of featuring in this spring’s league as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

Kelly, who won his third All-Star award after his exploits in 2021, has missed Clare’s opening two Division 1 clashes against Cork and Wexford.

“I’ve about 17 weeks done at the minute so just back in, I’ve a good block of running done, so I’ll be back in hurling this week,” said Kelly.

“It’s all going to plan so far. I just have to ramp up the hurling, shake off the rustiness, and hopefully I’ll be back on the field pretty soon.

“I think we’re off this weekend so I’ll play it week by week and see how I get on this week and next week and then we’ll see how it’s progressing. But it’s going well at the minute.

“If I can get in a couple of League games that’s the plan, hopefully try and get a couple under my belt before Championship.”

Clare’s remaining scheduled league fixtures in Group A see them travel to Offaly on 27 February, host Limerick on 6 March and play Galway away on 20 March.

Kelly had suffered the ankle injury in the 2020 championship against Waterford and ultimately needed to get the damage repaired.

“(It was) just a reconstruction on the outside and inside of the ankle. The inside had to be completely repaired. The ligament was just gone on the inside of my ankle. On the outside then it was tore but they could repair it.

“It happened in the winter championship of 2020. I rehabbed it then that winter and it wasn’t too bad. And then mainly after last year’s inter-county championship it came back at me playing with the club and I kind of got to the stage where I couldn’t train, playing bits of matches here and there.

tony-kelly Clare's Tony Kelly. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Then I just didn’t want to do much more damage in terms of the injury so decided to get the surgery done and clean it up. I’ll be able to play and I’m back running and I’ve had no real setback with it. So, in terms of severity, I’d say it’s like any operation that you do, once you can get back on the field and you’re not hampered or reduced in any way, shape, or form, then it should be okay.”

The 2013 Hurler of the Year was forced to watch on as his club Ballyea landed their third Clare senior title last autumn.

“Not too bad looking back when you have it won, it would have been worse obviously if we’d been beaten. Yeah, a tough call to make at any stage but it was just something that had to be done, you couldn’t really avoid it. Look it, I’ve been lucky so far to date. Hopefully that will continue.

“I’m hoping that I might actually have a bit more flexibility with it. They’ve told me that once the rehab goes to plan you should be back to full strength and back to normal so from that standpoint it’s going well.”

  • Kelly was speaking today at the brand launch of “In the Zone” by East Coast Bakehouse, which has been endorsed as “The Official Protein Cookies & Biscuits of the GAA/GPA” as The Players Choice.

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Fintan O'Toole

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