Henry Shefflin expected to start against Galway
Brian Cody set to opt for 11-time All Star for Leinster semi-final
Henry Shefflin: missed the opening championship tie in successive seasons, both against Offaly, due to the same fractured metatarsal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Richie Power is also due to return from a hamstring strain, making it difficult to predict who Cody will leave out.
The 11-time All Star has missed the opening championship tie in successive seasons, both against Offaly, due to the same fractured metatarsal, but Kilkenny are reporting Shefflin is fit enough to start his first championship match since the All-Ireland quarter- final defeat to Cork last July.
The 35-year-old recovered to hurl throughout the winter and spring, until a familiar pain in his foot after last month’s league final victory over Tipperary forced a return to the surgeon.
“It’s around the same metatarsal area,” Shefflin said recently.
“Listening to the surgeon, when this injury happens, it happens in the same area, the second metatarsal, that’s where most of the pressure goes through. That was basically it . . .
“What do you do with a stress fracture, you just rest it and you wear the boot then, not to put pressure through your foot.”
He was barely missed for the 5-23 to 1-18 destruction of Offaly, while TJ Reid has also recovered from the knee injury sustained during the game.
Galway’s injury problems are more pronounced, with Joseph Cooney unlikely to make it back from a knee injury, although he could make the panel. Niall Healy is out for the campaign with a cruciate ligament tear, while Cyril Donnellan requires a second groin operation.
Andy Smith could be the only change from the team that were lucky to beat Laois on June 1st – when a late goal-line block by Iarla Tannian secured a 1-22 to 0-23 victory – with veteran forward Damien Hayes likely to be used off the bench again.
Sunday’s provincial semi-final in Tullamore is the sides first championship clash since the 2012 All-Ireland final replay, although Kilkenny beat Galway twice in this year’s league.
Both teams will be named after training on Friday night.