The broken collarbone suffered by Gary Hurney when colliding with Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh during a practice match among the Waterford hurlers in Fraher Field last Thursday has added to the headaches pounding at the team’s Munster Hurling final preparations.
Thankfully the immediate prognosis for joint-skipper Stephen Molumphy isn’t as bad as first feared, though he’s still doubtful for Sunday week.
Fingers crossed that the rest of the panel will have come through Tuesday night’s scheduled training match in Dungarvan unscathed. Davy Fitzgerald reckons co-captain Ken McGrath won’t be seen in a Waterford shirt again until an All-Ireland semi-final date in August, if we make it that far, though Kevin Moran (ankle) and Noel Connors (hand) should be okay for the clash with Tipp after picking up injuries in the replay victory over Limerick. A fast-healer, Moran rejoined the panel this week.
Initially regarded by his fellow Ballyduff Upper man, selector Maurice Geary, as having “no chance” of making the June 12th assignment, fears had been expressed that Molumphy might even have damaged his anterior cruciate knee ligament, not just the medials, when he was stopped in his tracks by Limerick’s Brian Geary.
Thankfully an assessment by WRH specialist Tadgh O’Sullivan on Monday showed that not to be the case, though he’s still rated as having only a 70% chance of making the match.
The 25-year-old army officer’s possible absence raises a question as to who might lead the team out in Thurles. Typical the year that Waterford decided to share the armband that both skippers could be sidelined at the same time.
John Mullane would seem the obvious candidate, though there may be an argument for not saddling him with any extra burden given the form he’s in at the minute. Ditto perhaps ex-captains ‘Brick’ and Eoin Kelly. Tony Browne, assuming he’s selected, looks an ideal choice.
In the overall scheme of things, as concerns go the captaincy is pretty much a non-issue. Others will now hope to get their chance, with the likes of Dan Shanahan, Jack Kennedy, Shane Walsh, Bryan Phelan and a few more in contention for a place in the first fifteen. It’s far from ideal, but fate has a habit of finding new heroes, and reviving old ones, in adversity.