Mallow are likely to be without Cork footballer James Loughrey for their make-or-break Senior A county championship clash against Éire Óg this evening (Mourneabbey, 7.30pm), but there is hope forward Cian O’Riordan will play some part.
Loughrey and O'Riordan were absent during Mallow's opening round defeat to Kiskeam on July 25 because of injury, but manager Keith Moynihan has not ruled out the possibility that the influential pair - O'Riordan top-scored when the club won the county premier intermediate title in 2017 - could see action later today.
“James, probably not, Cian, hopefully, would be the way of it,” replied Moynihan when asked if either would feature this evening.
“Cian was togged and on the bench against Kiskeam, but when it came to it, we just didn't feel it was worth risking him, that he just wasn't right and we could have done more damage. James, who didn't tog against Kiskeam, has been rehabbing a hamstring injury so he is more unlikely."
Moynihan added: “It would be silly to think Kiskeam didn't have injuries for that game or Éire Óg won't either this weekend. We can't always look to the people we don't have as an excuse when we don't win a game. We very much try to focus on who we do have.”
Mallow, who were three clear of Kiskeam at half-time in their Senior A opener last month, drifted right off the pace in the second period and wound up losing by three. If they are to reach the quarter-finals, they cannot afford a second defeat at the hands of last year’s premier intermediate champions.
“We had good individual performances on the night so we would take stock from that, but we would have been very frustrated with our third quarter. Kiskeam took over in the third quarter, largely down to some of our mistakes. You could put that down to rustiness in not having played in a few months.
“We gave away the ball too cheaply. Kiskeam didn't. They were a little bit wiser than we were in how they used possession and they punished our mistakes more severely than we punished them.
“On Saturday, we are in a must-win situation against a team that is very much on the up. These are the games you want to be playing in. Our lads are really looking forward to the challenge. I think Éire Óg could pretty much hurt us in any part of the field, so we are going to have to have a big improvement on the last day. If we don't show up and perform, I don't think we'll be getting the result.”