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Eye injury makes Tony Kelly doubtful for Clare's All-Ireland quarter-final

The young attacker was forced off early in an U21 game last Thursday night against Waterford.

Clare's Tony Kelly.
Clare's Tony Kelly.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

TONY KELLY IS a major injury doubt for the Clare senior hurlers for next Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Galway after suffering a serious eye injury in an U21 game last Thursday night.

Kelly was forced off in the 12th minute of Clare’s victory by 2-15 to 0-17 against Waterford in Walsh Park in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21HC semi-final.

The Ballyea clubman had to withdraw from the action after the sliotar struck the guard of his helmet, bent the bar in and it hit against his eye.

Kelly has not suffered any damage to his sight but there is still swelling around his eye and he has not been able to train since the game.

TheScore.ie understands that Kelly’s chances of playing next Sunday in Semple Stadium are rated at ’50/50′ but Clare will give the player every chance to prove his fitness before the match against the Tribesmen.

Kelly would be a considerable loss to Davy Fitzgerald’s side if he is ruled out as he has become an influential figure in their team despite only making his senior championship debut last July in the All-Ireland qualifier victory against Dublin in Cusack Park in Ennis.

He has been featured at centre-forward this season and if he is unavailable, both Fergal Lynch and Aaron Cunningham could come into the frame to start in the half-forward line.

Cathal McInerney who fired home a brace of goals when introduced in Clare’s recent win in the All-Ireland qualifiers against Wexford could be another potential replacement.

Clare will also be hoping Kelly is fit to start for their provincial U21 hurling final against Tipperary in Semple Stadium on Wednesday August 7th.

Kelly emerged initially on the successful Clare minor sides that won Munster minor titles in 2010 and 2011. He then starred on the Clare team that won the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling title last September against Kilkenny and has gone on to impress at centre-forward for the Banner senior outfit this summer.

He fired 0-4 in their Munster quarter-final win over Waterford before the man-marking job done by Cork’s Brian Murphy in the Munster semi-final proved to be a key reason in their victory over Clare.

But Clare have bounced back in the qualifiers to defeat Laois in Ennis and then got the better of Wexford in Thurles last Saturday week when Kelly shot 0-5.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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