Stokes blow for Limerick

LIMERICK football manager Liam Kearns was dealt a blow at training last evening when midfielder Jason Stokes failed a fitness test in advance of Saturday’s All-Ireland football qualifier against Carlow at Dr. Cullen Park.

Football board PRO John Ryan said Stokes, who had been out with a leg injury for nine months, suffered a recurrence after their Munster semi final defeat by Kerry.

In the only change in personnel from the Kerry setback, Michael Reidy comes in at full-forward, allowing John Galvin to return to midfield. Dual players Conor Fitzgerald and Stephen Lucey are in.

Both Fitzgerald and Lucey are also expected to figure in hurling manager Joe McKenna’s plans for his side’s qualifier with Laois at Portlaoise on Friday night. The Carlow team is expected to be announced tonight.

Having collected full points from their opening All-Ireland hurling qualifier last weekend, McKenna is not taking any chances for Sunday meeting with Laois, especially with Galway due at the Gaelic Grounds in the concluding game. He has intimated that Stephen Lucey and Conor Fitzgerald, named on the football team, will be included in his plans when he names his team.

His main concern centres on Mark Foley, whose finger injury sustained in their Munster semi final defeat by Tipperary has not fully responded.

Westmeath will be without Paul Conway, Dessie Dolan and Barry Dolan because of serious injuries for their All-Ireland qualifier with Clare at Ennis on Sunday, while Ray O’Connell and Dermot Heavin, both suffering from ankle injuries, are considered to be extremely doubtful.

Both teams will be selected after training tomorrow night.

Clare manager Anthony Daly won’t announce his side to play Offaly in the All-Ireland hurling qualifier at Portlaoise on Saturday until just before the start. However, good news for Daly is that Colin Lynch, Gerry O’Grady and Barry Nugent have recovered from injuries.

Mitch Jordan is the main injury concern for the Wexford senior hurlers ahead of Sunday’s Guinness Leinster championship final against Kilkenny in Croke Park. The Marshalstown forward has a groin problem which makes him a doubtful starter, while Darren Stamp has already been ruled out

Nigel Higgins, who came off the bench against Laois and scored two points, has been omitted from the panel after work commitments forced him to miss training last week.

LIMERICK (SF): S. O’Donnell; T. Stack, C. Mullane, J. McCarthy; P. Browne, S. Lucey, S. Lavin; J.Quane, G. Galvin; S. Kelly, M. Gavin, S. Buckley; C. Fitzgerald, M. Reidy, M. Crowley.

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