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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile Declan Hannon was speaking at the unveiling of eir as a new official sponsor of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
# Injury blow
Declan Hannon hopes Mike Casey won't be ruled out for long term
Hannon gave Casey a call after he heard about the injury and recalled his inspirational comeback from previous injury blows.

ALL-IRELAND WINNING CAPTAIN Declan Hannon hopes Limerick won’t be without full-back Mike Casey in the long term.

Casey collapsed clutching his right knee while moving towards a dropping ball without taking any contact during Na Piarsaigh’s Munster semi-final loss to Ballygunner. He limped off the field in the 54th minute supported by medics.

Casey has had his share of bad luck with knee injuries in recent years but initial reports suggest he has avoided another cruciate tear.

A torn cruciate ruled Casey out of the 2020 championship and further damage to his knee cartilage ended his hopes of returning for the 2021 campaign. He underwent knee operations in November 2020, July 2021, and December 2021 before making a full comeback to star in defence for Limerick this year as they completed three-in-a-row in the All-Ireland senior hurling championship.

Hannon gave Casey a call after he heard about the injury and recalled his inspirational comeback from previous injury blows.

“I didn’t see the match. I just heard that he went down injured. I was sickened when I heard it,” said Hannon.

“Mike had done so much work to get back into the Limerick set-up at all over the last number of years.

“I was in awe of him looking at him there on the sideline and putting in the hours and hours of work on his own, which is very difficult. Things are a lot easier when you’ve a group of players all doing the same thing but when you’re on your own… I’m sure there were evenings there when he was finding it very hard but he’s a fantastic person to come back the way he did.

“So obviously I was disappointed when I heard he had to go off in that game. Fingers crossed it’s not going to be a long-term injury. I don’t know the finer details of how bad it is or anything like that but we’re all there to support Mike and get him back onto the training pitch as soon as possible.”

Hannon turned 30 last Friday and joked that the landmark birthday hasn’t changed his attitude, just yet.

“No, it hasn’t changed the mindset yet but it might change it in six weeks’ time when I’m running around Rathkeale after people.

“But no, I just can’t wait to get back, really looking forward to it and seeing what next year brings.”

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Hannon, who enjoyed a fundraising trip to New York and San Francisco with the Liam MacCarthy Cup earlier this month, is back doing some running and gym work ahead of the return to training.

The difference he feels after a decade of inter-county hurling shapes his preparations.

“The recovery time takes a little bit more when you get older. When you’re 18 or 19 or 20 you can play a match every day of the week and it’d be no problem so when you get that opportunity to rest, it’s important to do it because when training gets full steam ahead, it’s just hell for leather, and you need to be ready to go. If you’re not you’ll just be passed out.

“It’s just trying to mind yourself as much as you can, probably not going out as much as the younger lads and the college boys might be going out. It’s just that rest and making sure you’re trying to stay injury free in the pre-season, in particular, giving yourself a good run into the League, and taking it from there.”

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