Mikey Geaney out, James O’Donoghue losing fitness fight for Kerry

Footballer of the year James O’Donoghue is a long shot to be fit for Kerry’s All-Ireland semi final against Tyrone on Sunday week - but his fellow attacker Mikey Geaney’s season is already over, manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice revealed last night.

Geaney, a first cousin of inside forward Paul, has suffered from back problems, and Fitzmaurice said a problem that resurfaced on the eve of the quarter final win over Kildare has deteriorated in the meantime.

“it might be the end of the season for Mikey, and he is a huge loss to the forward line.

“He is also a great personality in the set-up, so it’s a blow definitely.”

The Kerry manager confirmed that O’Donoghue had dislocated his shoulder again in the Kildare win, and praised team physio Eddie Harnett for the swift ‘relocation’ on the pitch, without which O’Donoghue’s season would certainly be over.

As it is the Legion man is long odds to be involved against Tyrone. He has yet to resume any contact training and will not be involved in the A v B squad match in Killarney tomorrow.

Fitzmaurice admitted it was a worry that the right shoulder was again causing problems for O’Donoghue despite corrective surgery last year.

“We’d love to start him but I don’t know how realistic that is at this stage. If he is able to be involved Saturday it will mean he is further down the line, but we will measure it next week. Medically if he is ok he will be in the shake-up.”

Fitzmaurice said he had been very impressed with Tyrone and wouldn’t be surprised if Tiernan McCann, facing an eight week suspension for his theatrics in the quarter final win, lines up against Kerry.

“There’s been a lot made out of it this week. I feel sorry for Tiernan McCann on a personal level.

“We all make mistakes, these things happen. In one way I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t play Sunday week.

“He’s been a fantastic player, getting better with each game and especially the last day against Monaghan. I think there’s a good chance we’ll end up seeing him Sunday week somehow.

“The (criticism) Tyrone have faced this week won’t affect them, they will harness it and it will galvanise them again if anything. They’ve been around the block and the semi final isn’t going to be about anything that is happening outside the camp.”

Asked how Tyrone compare to last year’s beaten finalists Donegal, he said: “They are more defensive and more athletic.

“When the defend, they do it well and in numbers, and they are excellent in transition to attack. they get bodies up the field.

“They play the game on their terms and they will be as tough a nut as we’ve had to crack since I became involved with Kerry.”

Fitzmaurice also revealed he has had a couple of private conversations with frustrated fringe players, but that once everyone was in the dressing room environment, there was no place for anyone “sucking positive energy out of the players.”

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