Inter-county Hurling stars Henry Shefflin and Conal Keaney are almost at the end of the long road to recovery and are chomping at the bit as they look to make their injury return during the Championship campaign.
Kilkenny’s Shefflin, who underwent shoulder surgery following a knock picked up playing for his club Ballyhale Shamrocks, spoke of his eagerness to again pull on the Black and Amber and have a tilt at a 9th All-Ireland win.
“Especially with this lovely weather we’ve been having you’d love to be out in the thick of it”, said the 10-time All Star.
“I’m a couple of months away, unfortunately. It’s a slow injury and contact sport is the last thing you need when you have a repair done on your shoulder.”
“I was looking forward to this year and having a clear run at it so it’s disappointed” he added. “I have to focus on getting myself right as soon as possible.”
Dublin full forward Keaney damaged his cruciate in a motorcycle accident back in July. The Ballyboden/St. Enda’s man cited the importance of having other players to help him through the grueling rehabilitation process.
“Myself, Tomás (Brady) and Stephen Hiney, the three of us did it together. It definitely helped, going to the gym with the two other lads.”
“I would have struggled doing it on my own”, he added.
“As it stands, I have another couple of weeks to go but I’m looking forward to getting a bit of game time during the season.”
Meanwhile, Seán Óg O’hAilpín has backed the the man who recalled him to the Cork Senior Hurling setup to drag the Leesiders out of their recent rut.
“If there’s anyone equipped to get Cork out of the doldrums, it’s probably Jimmy Barry Murphy because basically he went through it himself in the mid-90s.”
“They were lean years but after three years he delivered the silverware with a young team, so basically he finds himself in that same situation.”
The three stars will be involved in the Centra ‘Brighten Up Your Day’ Community Events in this,
Centra’s third year as sponsor of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Championship.
Building on the success of its Hurling Skills Tour in 2011, Centra will spread the GAA message even further across local communities throughout Ireland with the ‘Brighten Up Your Day’ Community Events in 2012. These will take place every weekend from April 21st –July 28th in 15 locations around Ireland and will feature some of the country’s top inter-county players.
The programme is aimed at bringing communities together in their local county stadium to enjoy a celebration of hurling and family entertainment. Featured will be an array of family entertainment including BBQ’s, live music, a hurling simulator to test your hurling skills, face painting and a hurling skills session for children. Each skills session will feature two Centra hurling Ambassadors, giving Ireland’s future hurlers the chance to train with the best in the game and the good news is that the events are free – with registration taking place in Centra stores in the relevant counties.
Centra has lined up some of the greatest stars of the game to take the hurling message out into the community with its Brighten Up Your Day Community events. The 14 Centra hurling ambassadors include some of the country’s greatest inter-County players. Shefflin, Keaney and O’hAilpín join John Mullane (Waterford), Eoin Kelly (Tipperary), Damien Hayes, (Galway), Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny), Padraic Maher (Tipperary), Declan Hannon (Limerick), Patrick Horgan (Cork), Liam Rushe (Dublin), Niall Gilligan (Clare), Damian Fitzhenry (Wexford) and Shane Dooley (Offaly).
Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, Centra said: “We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the GAA All-Ireland Hurling Championship for the third year and this season we intend to spread the GAA message even further throughout 15 communities in which our stores operate. Our ‘Brighten Up Your Day’ Community Events will be a celebration of hurling and community, bringing local families together to enjoy a fun-filled and action packed day out in their county stadium”
The Centra Brighten Up Your Day Community Events will run from Saturday 21st April to Saturday 28th July and will visit Dublin South, Kilkenny, Clare, Donegal, Wexford, Dublin North, Tipperary, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Cavan and Offaly.