Prendergast blow to Déise hopes

WATERFORD boss John Owens has revealed that midfielder Tommy Prendergast will be sidelined for the rest of the year as he recovers from a freak shoulder injury that has left him hospitalised for the last few weeks.

But the Kilrossanty player continues to be a key part of the squad’s championship campaign with Owens and selector Kenny Hassett visiting him in Ardkeen hospital in Waterford city on Tuesday night where they presented him with a London jersey as a memento from last Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier victory over their hosts in Ruislip.

And the Waterford management contacted Prendergast from the dressing-room immediately after their win against London, in order to allow him to share in their celebrations.

“It’s been a very worrying time for him, his parents and his family,” admitted Owens. “He hurt his shoulder against Cork in the Munster semi-final and it just got worse. He had very minimal movement, so it was fairly scary for Tommy.

“But by last week, the medical people had managed to get a handle on it and they found out there was an infection in the joint. They managed to drain some of the fluid out of it and his movement returned to some extent.

“Myself and Kenny went in to see him on Tuesday night and he was in good spirits. We brought him a London jersey in as a memento and it was something we’d talked about and planned to do before we were going over.

“Kenny looked after that after the game and Tommy was delighted with it. We contacted him immediately after the game from the dressing-room as we wanted him to still be a part of our victory. He was in good form after we’d won. He was keeping an eye on the game with various sources letting him know how we were doing.”

Prendergast will not be able to attend Saturday’s All-Ireland round three qualifier against Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds but Owens insists that his absence will continue to galvanise the remainder of the squad.

“Unfortunately he won’t be with us in the Gaelic Grounds next Saturday either as he’s going to have to stay in hospital for another while and it doesn’t really look like that he is going to play football again this year. But I know he’ll be keeping an eye on that game. He’s a great young fella, very popular with all the lads and he’s been sorely missed around the place.

“He’s 22, six foot five and is a really good midfield prospect for the county. He was definitely a driving force for us last Saturday. I know the lads wanted to win the game for him and they’ve been in and out to him in Ardkeen over the last couple of weeks to see how he’s getting on.”

Waterford’s main injury doubt ahead of the game is corner-back Eamonn Walsh who is struggling with an ankle injury while attacker Liam Ó Lionáin will be marked absent as he has received a setback in his recovery from the leg break he sustained last August.

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