Double injury blow for champions Stradbally

While Stradbally were ecstatically celebrating a one-point Waterford SFC replay victory over The Nire last Saturday night, two of their longest serving players spent the night in the hospital and will miss next Sunday’s Munster meeting with Cork champions Castlehaven.

Midfielder John Hearne’s worst fears were realised when hospital X-rays confirmed that he had broken a bone in his leg, while corner-back Trevor Costelloe suffered severe concussion.

Costelloe, who like Hearne was winning his eighth county senior championship medal, carried on for another two minutes before mentors realised he had to be substituted.

“To have won without these two stalwarts says all that needs to be said about their heart and commitment to their club,” team manager Pat Curran said.

“The important thing is that both of them will make a complete recovery in time, but there is no point in minimising the loss they will be to us against Castlehaven.

“Our fellows love a challenge, however, and there will be no more formidable a challenge than this game. But be assured that we will give it our very best shot.”

Meanwhile, The Nire are still trying to come to terms with the painful experience of losing replayed senior football finals to the same opposition four times in the past decade.

“Everyone in the camp is understandably down,” former county board chairman Paddy Joe Ryan said.

“We certainly had our chances and we lost our most menacing forward, Liam Lawlor, at a stage in the second half when we were two points in front. His loss was a major one to us and it could well have turned the game on us.”

* Nemo Rangers have appointed former player Stephen O’Brien as manager with Larry Kavanagh and Conor Buckley coming in as selectors.

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