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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Fears for Tipp legend Eoin Kelly’s hurling future after cruciate setback

The 34-year-old sustained the injury in a championship game for Mullinahone.

Eoin Kelly in action for Tipperary in 2014.
Eoin Kelly in action for Tipperary in 2014.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

THERE ARE FEARS that Tipperary’s 2010 All-Ireland winning captain Eoin Kelly may have played his last competitive game after sustaining cruciate knee ligament damage last weekend.

Kelly, 34, was injured as Mullinahone lost out to Clonoulty-Rossmore in the Tipperary senior hurling championship quarter-final at Semple Stadium.

The six-time All-Star received the dreaded news on Tuesday after undergoing scans at Aut Even Hospital in Kilkenny.

It’s the second time that the cruciate curse has visited Mullinahone this year, as Jack Shelly underwent surgery on Monday evening after he was injured in a club game against Ballingarry in July.

Shelly, a 2012 All-Ireland minor medallist, starred for the Tipperary U21s in their Munster championship victory over Limerick but was injured just two days later.

Shelly has time on his side but Kelly, who has also suffered with back problems in the past, may now decide to call time on his glittering career.

Confirming the news, Mullinahone PRO Jackie Bolger isn’t ruling out a playing return for Kelly, however.

He said: “Absolutely, we might not have seen the last of him.

“Whatever has to be done for Eoin will be done by the club.

“He’s given us 25 years of outstanding service and he’s given a lifetime to Tipperary since he was 15 years of age.

“There’s not a person in the country who wouldn’t wish him well.

“I’d never say never with Eoin — his passion for hurling is what gets him through.

“With Jack, it’s the second time around for him with a cruciate injury.

“He’ll get the winter behind him and we’d hope to get him back next summer some time or in the spring.

“Jack is a driven young lad but it’s incredible to have two fellas of their calibre finish the season with cruciates.”

Kelly, renowned as one of the greatest forwards in the history of the game, will be operated on at the Santry Sports Surgery Clinic in Dublin.

He announced his retirement from inter-county hurling in 2014, having racked up an incredible tally of 21-368 from 63 championship outings in the blue and gold.

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Jackie Cahill

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