Shefflin to return for Cats after eight months

HENRY SHEFFLIN will end his eight-month break from the inter-county game when he returns to the Kilkenny team for his first match since last year’s All-Ireland final when the Cats entertain Waterford in a senior hurling challenge in Mooncoin on Sunday night (throw-in 7pm).

The Ballyhale Shamrocks star last lined out in the All-Ireland triumph over Tipperary last September, but he helped his club to a record fifth win in the All-Ireland club series in between.

The 31-year-old was given a complete break by Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody after the club final win over Portumna, but with the county squad ready to commence training next week for the Leinster championship, this was seen as an ideal time for Shefflin to make his return.

The Waterford team will include Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh at centre-back, after he has recovered from the broken arm he sustained against Galway midway through the league campaign.

Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy has boosted his attacking options ahead of this month’s Munster SHC quarter-final clash with Cork by drafting two new forwards into his squad.

Brian O’Meara from Kilruane McDonaghs and Moneygall’s Paddy Fanning have linked up with the Premier County panel ahead of the Páirc Uí Chaoimh showdown on May 30.

O’Meara played a key role in Waterford IT’s run to the Fitzgibbon Cup final and appeared as a sub in the recent Cadbury All-Ireland U21 football semi-final against Donegal.

Fanning has impressed in recent club outings with Moneygall in the North SHC, most notably against Nenagh Éire Óg and Newport.

Tipperary captain Robbie Costigan is expected to shake off a leg injury to face Kerry in Sunday week’s Munster SFC quarter-final against Kerry in Semple Stadium.

The Cahir defender has been hampered by the problem recently but it looks unlikely to rule him out of action and he is free to contest for his customary spot at centre-back in John Evans starting XV. Everyone else in the Tipperary camp emerged unscathed from last weekend’s full round of club championship action.

Meanwhile the Cork minor footballers’ injury problems are showing signs of abating ahead of next Wednesday’s Munster MFC semi-final against Tipperary. Captain Daniel Fitzgerald is set to return to the squad having overcome a hamstring problem and a viral infection, while Kevin Hallissey and Roger Ryan are both back in the frame as well after recent shoulder and leg injuries respectively. Midfielder Damien Cahalane is an injury doubt though with a thigh problem. Kerry boss Pat O’Driscoll has injury worries before their Munster MFC semi-final against Limerick in Newcastlewest also on Wednesday night. Corner-back Pa Kilkenny (quad) and wing-forward Marcus Mangan (shoulder) are serious worries while wing-back James Walsh (ankle) is another doubt.

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