Three weeks ago cruciate ligament injuries looked like killing the chances of the pair being involved in Kilkenny’s bid for a fifth All-Ireland win on the trot. But last night manager Brian Cody gave the thumbs up to the pair, thereby giving a vote of confidence to them making it through what is sure to be a ferocious battle, a repeat of last year’s decider. “Everyone who has been training was available for selection,” Cody insisted. “Henry and John have proven their fitness like everyone else in the squad”
Shefflin will lead the attack at centre-forward, only a week after picking up an injury in the semi-final win over Cork. This is not expected to be a one off effort from Shefflin either, as he has every intention of seeing out the Kilkenny championship afterwards with his club, Shamrocks (Ballhyhale).
The inclusion of John Tennyson at centre-back in place of the injured Brian Hogan (shoulder) is the only change from the semi-final team.Tennyson, like Shefflin, has made remarkable progress after severing a cruciate ligament in his knee, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
When Tennyson was a minor player in 2003 he lined out in the All-Ireland final only ten days after having his appendix removed. Now he looks set to prove himself something of an iron mana again.
Team captain, T.J. Reid holds onto the wing-forward position. He wasexpected to lose out to fit again All-Star Michael Rice, who has been named among the subs.
KILKENNY subs: D. Herity, M. Kavanagh, J. Ryall, M. Rice, D. Lyng, M. Comerford, R. Hogan, P. Hogan, C. Hickey, D. Fogarty.
lMeanwhile, Leinster champions Kilkenny have named ever present full-back Willie Phelan in the team to play Clare in the MHC final in Croke Park tomorrow. The Dunnamaggin defender had an injured shoulder and was a doubt, but manager Richie Mulrooney named Phelan, who missed last year’s final against Galway because of injury. Wing-forward John Power is brother of senior star Richie.
Clare have named an unchanged team from that which recorded a one point victory over Dublin in the semi-final.