Lyons in the mix for Lilywhites’ date with Laois

KILDARE boss Kieran McGeeney received a major boost with the news that he can call on defender Ollie Lyons for Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier clash with Laois.

Lyons was expected to be ruled out of the O’Moore Park tie after picking up a shoulder injury in the Leinster semi-final against Dublin.

It was reported that the corner-back, who made his championship debut in the Croke Park fixture, had dislocated his shoulder and was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering the injury early in the second-half.

But the Celbridge man, who started the game in place of original selection Andriú MacLochlainn, has made a dramatic recovery and so will be in line for a place on the first 15.

“Ollie Lyons’ shoulder is fine, there’s no problem with it,” said Kildare selector Niall Carew ahead of the intriguing Portlaoise contest.

“He missed the first two training sessions after the Dublin game but since then he’s been taking a full part in the training.

“Naturally, we’re thrilled that Ollie has got over the injury and that he’s available for selection for the Laois game.”

Significantly, McGeeney was delighted with the performance of Lyons, who had impressed during the course of the Lilywhites Division 2 league campaign.

“I thought Ollie did a great job on [Bernard] Brogan,” enthused the Kildare manager. “He kept him reasonably quiet.”

But it’s not so clear-cut for Laois manager Justin McNulty who faces worries over the fitness of defender Denis Booth and forwards MJ Tierney and Billy Sheehan. Booth and Tierney are carrying hamstring injuries, and Kerry native Sheehan has a shoulder problem.

“The three lads were not able to train at the weekend because of their injuries,” a spokesperson said, adding that the players’ fitness would be put under the microscope last night.

McNulty withdrew five players during the course of the 2-16 to 0-11 win over Tipperary 11 days ago. But the quintet — defender Peter O’Leary, midfielder Padraic Clancy and forwards Niall Donoher, Ross Munnelly and Donie Kingston — are all available for selection.

Meanwhile, Laois hurling boss Brendan Fennelly hasn’t given any indication that he plans to step down from his post in the wake of the 10-20 to 1-13 mauling by Cork in the All-Ireland Qualifiers’ Preliminary Round tie on June 18.

The Kilkenny native’s future is likely to come up for discussion some time after the conclusion of Laois’s involvement in the All-Ireland senior football championship.

In addition to Fennelly and McNulty, the situation regarding the managers for the minor (PJ Peacock) and U21 (Seamus Plunkett) hurling teams, and their minor (Denis Lalor) and U21 (Pat Roe) football counterparts will be discussed by the Laois County Board.

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