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Cork clash may come too soon for Fennelly in race for fitness

The Ballyhale man is recovering from a long-term ankle injury.

Michael Fennelly of Kilkenny.
Michael Fennelly of Kilkenny.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

KILKENNY MIDFIELDER Michael Fennelly admits he may not be fully fit for the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final with Cork later this month.

Fennelly made his return to action against Waterford on Saturday night, as he battles to recover from a long-term ankle injury.

But the Ballyhale man said yesterday that he is not yet training at full tilt and the last-eight showdown with the Rebels may come too soon for him.

“Would I last 70 minutes or would I better coming on? Over the next 12 days it will be decided,” says Fennelly.

“I’m not training. Any player that doesn’t train for two weeks your fitness does actually drop quite quickly after two or three weeks. It’s been two plus months for myself so I need to get training I need to get games into me and obviously time is not there so it’s whatever I can do in the meantime just do it and get the head right and do what you can.

“I have been off training the last eight or nine weeks, not doing a whole lot to be honest. I was doing a bit of swimming, probably stopped that the last two or three weeks there. But that’s all I could do, it is a lot different to running around a hurling field and lads hitting off you. Hopefully this week I will be able to get a bit of training done and build up the fitness but obviously time is ticking.”

Fennelly was glad to get the cameo against the Deise under his belt however.

“It was tough now, I don’t think extra-time was planned,” he says. “But I was delighted to get on and once your head is right your body will go places but you do need that bit of conditioning as well. I did the last 20 minutes and then extra-time. Other players were fatiguing but I was able to keep going a bit but obviously I was tired myself.”

Fennelly’s clubmate, Henry Shefflin, was introduced earlier in the game — just after the interval — against Waterford and didn’t emerge for extra-time, as he too fights back to full fitness after a long lay-off.

“Obviously it would be better for him to get a break for longer and get some training under his belt,” says Fennelly. “He obviously hasn’t had any training either so obviously this week will be a big help for him. Obviously a few weeks training would be better for him but it’s not there and you just have to do what you can do.”

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