Manager John McIntyre yesterday confirmed that they now had an astonishing 21 players nursing injuries.
The biggest concern surrounds All Star Ollie Canning who was unable to play for Portumna at the weekend after suffering an ankle injury in training. And with corner-back Fergal Moore already ruled out for the season, McIntyre and his selectors can’t afford to lose another experienced defender.
But he had no choice but to call off training schedule for Pearse Stadium last evening – instead the squad went for a session in a swimming pool and then video analysis.
“In all my years involved in team management, I have never seen anything like this,” said McIntyre, who is hoping that his side can build on their league title success when they open their championship campaign against Wexford on Saturday week.
And McIntyre confirmed that defender Conor Dervan had a dislocated thumb, joining the likes of Damien Hayes, Ger Farragher, Niall Healy, Donal Barry and Eanna Ryan on a long injury list.
“Players are dropping like flies as the club action and hard ground takes its toll. The situation is a big worry with the Wexford game so close,” he added.
Wexford have their own worries with defender Richie Kehoe definitely ruled out.
Kehoe damaged his lateral knee ligament during last Sunday’s county SHC when assisting his club Faythe Harriers in a draw with Oylegate-Glenbrien.
Team boss Colm Bonnar said: “Richie has been diagnosed with lateral knee ligament damage and the injury will keep out for four weeks. He’ll have a further scan this week. Should it be more serious he’ll be out for longer.’’
Willie Doran has also lost his fitness battle to face Galway when failing to make his club’s Buffers Alley county championship game last Sunday.
“We had hoped that Willie would have been able to get a game last weekend. He’s taking longer to recuperate from his dislocated elbow than we expected. He’s also now out of the championship opener.”
But Bonnar is keeping his fingers crossed that both Paul Roche and PJ Nolan will make the game.
“Paul has a hamstring which forced him to retire in the league final. He had not trained for three weeks in the lead up to the final and has not trained since.
“PJ has had a horrible time with injuries. Just back from a shoulder problem he aggravated a quad muscle when coming on as a sub against Carlow. He has been unable to train. We just hope both will come right over the coming week for they are four week injury problems. We’ll just have to wait and hope for both Paul and PJ,” said Bonnar.
Laois manager Niall Rigney believes his side will be at full strength for this weekend’s local derby with Carlow in the opening round of the Leinster SHC.
The Portlaoise native was without star players John Brophy and Shane Dollard for the last number of weeks but the important duo have declared themselves fit for Saturday’s encounter.
“John Brophy is back in contention after been out of the Carlow game (league),” he said. “Joe Phelan has been back from Australia for the last month so this new competition for places keeps lads on their toes.
“Everyone is in flying form so it’s just a matter of getting on with the game now,” he concluded.
Carlow look set to be without Eoin Nolan and Ruairi Dunbar for the clash with the O’Moore county. Meanwhile Kevin McGourty has returned to the Antrim squad after a two-year absence ahead of Sunday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final match against Tyrone.
McGourty has trained with the Saffrons panel but it is unclear what role, if any, the St Gall’s player will have in Liam Bradley’s side at Casement Park.
The 27-year-old starred in the St Gall’s team which won the All-Ireland club title on St Patrick’s Day.
Tyrone pair Tommy McGuigan and Kyle Coney are set to be fit for the game.
Forward McGuigan (quad/hamstring) and exciting youngster Coney (back) have recovered from injuries and should be available for selection.
However, defender PJ Quinn is rated doubtful after aggravating an achilles tendon injury.
Conor Gormley (knee) is back in training but will miss Sunday’s match.