Shanahan optimistic for SHC

Dan Shanahan crashed home 8-13 in last year's championship but despite a knee injury hanging over him and less than three weeks to his side's Munster SHC opener against Clare, Waterford's scoring ace is optimistic that he can play a major role for the Deise again this summer.

"I'm a marked man, but if I'm closely watched, someone else gets the space," Shanahan said.

"To get 8-13 in the championship – I don't know if anyone else will do it again. I'll just go out and do my best, that's all I can do."

Shanahan injured himself while in action for his club Lismore less than a fortnight ago. He explained the extent of his injury.

"It's a ligament injury – brusing around the ligament in my right knee," he said.

"It's sore now at the moment to be honest. I rarely get injured and I got a bit of a fright. I've to go back to the doctor next week and hopefully I get the all-clear."

And the 2007 Hurler of the Year insists that he is obeying doctor's orders.

"I was told to take it easy by the doctor and at the moment I'm taking it easy.

"It was hard to take it easy when you are just a few weeks out from the championship but I'll go with what the doctor says and hopefully I'll be alright."

There had been speculation that Shanahan had suffered a cruciate injury but he was delighted when it was confirmed that this was not the case.

"I couldn't walk on it Monday. I met the doctor on Tuesday and he was a bit concerned, but I got it scanned and got the all-clear and that was great news to hear."

The 31-year-old was back with a hurl in his hand at the Guinness Hop Store in Dublin this week to try out their new 'Guinness Hurling Cubed' hurling game which will tour the country this summer.

He conceded that this small piece of action did have a short-term negative effect on his injury.

"There's a bit of reaction now," he said. "But to be honest that wasn't really hard stuff.

"Stephen Hunt (the soccer international) was going a bit hard there but put him up against Frank Lohan or Gerry Quinn and he'll have no chance!," Shanahan joked.

It is that Munster clash on June 1 against the Banner which is very much in Shanahan's mind.

He believes that Clare are at their most dangerous at present – particularly when there are no soundings emanating from the camp.

"There's very little being talked about Clare at the moment and that's when they are dangerous. They are playing a lot of games behind closed doors.

"Sure we know what to expect from Clare - everyone does to be honest – a hard physical battle.

"There are a lot of key players back for them that they didn't have last year, it's going to be tough."

On Wednesday night Shanahan linked up with his Waterford colleagues in Portugal for a pre-championship training camp.

He believes the benefits of such camps are not to be underestimated.

"It's something we do every year and it has definitely benefited us.

"Hopefully it does again. It's good team-bonding – you are training twice a day, you relax at dinner time and get to know the lads you didn't know well before, just to get it that bit more personalised."

Having tasted Munster championship success in 2002, 2004 and 2007, Shanahan is keen for his side to avoid the back door route again.

"To be honest, the way we look at it is that you have to go out and try and win every other game – losing is a bad habit," he said.

"If we don't beat Clare we aren't out of the championship but we are losing.

"Cork and Tipperary are there and we could end up meeting them in the long grass again. It will be tough so we'll try and win every game."

Twelve months ago, Shanahan and his Deise colleagues were riding high off the back of a National League title.

A year later, they have lost their grip on the league trophy and have a spate of injuries to contend with.

But their chief goal-getter insists that their manager Justin McCarthy will not be making any rash decisions when it comes to team selection on June 1.

"Every panel has 30 players. Eoin Murphy is a serious doubt, I don't know about Eoin Kelly – I haven't been talking to him.

"I'll look after myself and they will look after themselves and Justin will have a chat with each one of us. If we are fit he'll pick us and if we aren't he won't."

Defenders beware - some intensive physio work and the recent excellent spell of weather seem to have worked wonders on Shanahan's injury.

"Intensive physio plus the heat at the moment helps clear up injuries. I'm looking forward to going to Portugal and meeting the lads – just chilling out and watching them training.

"I'll do a small bit myself and just keep things going as best I can," he added.

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