Cooper a major injury worry for Kerry

COLM COOPER is regarded as a doubtful starter for Kerry in next Sunday's all-ticket Allianz National Football League final against Galway in Croke Park (3.40pm).

And, the speculation is that the management will not pick Declan O'Sullivan, who was forced off with a hamstring injury in the semi-final against Limerick, for fear of aggravating it. With Darragh Ó Sé ruled out through suspension, the midfield pairing is another decision confronting the management.

Cooper is reported to be troubled by a recurrence of the groin injury which necessitated surgery last year, and as a consequence, didn't train with the squad on Friday night.

He also missed his club's county league game on Saturday.

Declan O'Sullivan, on current form considered vital to the attack, was able to do some light jogging at the end of last week. However, the belief is that the selectors will not risk playing him, with the championship game against Clare in three weeks' time.

In the absence of Darragh Ó Sé, it's expected that Eoin Brosnan will start at midfield with William Kirby. He played there for the second-half against Limerick, following the dismissal of the Gaeltacht captain.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice's month suspension ends at midnight on Saturday, so he is again available for selection.

Meanwhile, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte expects Ger Cavlan to be fit for his side's Ulster SFC preliminary round tie against Derry in Clones on May 9, but their opponents have been dealt a massive injury blow.

Derry's star forward Johnny McBride seems certain to miss the championship opener, after suffering an arm injury at the weekend.

McBride, the talismanic figure in Loup's Ulster club success last autumn, sustained a suspected broken arm while playing for the Derry and Ulster champions.

McBride's injury is a huge disappointment to Mickey Moran and John Morrison, as the county showed lacklustre form while McBride was absent due to club commitments.

It is the second injury Derry have suffered in the past week, with Dominic McElvar damaging a knee in training last week. He is also likely to miss the Clones clash.

The news is better for the All-Ireland champions. Cavlan was one of the outstanding figures of their league campaign before his recent injury, even outshining Sean Cavanagh in midfield.

Although ostensibly a wing-forward, following his side's problems in the centre in Salthill last Sunday, Harte might be tempted to move Cavlan back there to partner Cavanagh.

"Ger was never going to be ready for the league final if we made it, but we hope to have him back for the game against Derry. He is making steady progress, we need him back."

The replay of the Dublin/Kildare Leinster U21 FC game goes ahead in Portlaoise on Saturday at 2pm. The game had to be changed from Navan - where the teams drew last Saturday - because of the involvement of team mentors in the May Day security arrangements in Dublin and the prior arrangement of two All-Ireland colleges finals in Navan the same day.

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