DOWN manager James McCartan will take Henry Shefflin’s hurling final breakdown into account before deciding whether or not to start key midfielder Ambrose Rogers against Cork on Sunday week.
Like his teammate John Tennyson, the Kilkenny forward carried a cruciate ligament injury into last Sunday’s decider against Tipperary and lasted only 13 minutes before pulling up whilst in possession.
Rogers has already sat out one major assignment.
The 25-year old missed the semi-final defeat of Kildare last month after suffering his own cruciate injury during a club championship game for Longstone against Leitrim at the start of August.
“Things wouldn’t have changed a huge amount in that we’re preparing without him but, certainly, Ambrose is a lot further down the road in terms of rehabilitation,” said McCartan.
“We’re aware of what happened Henry Shefflin at the weekend. Mr Tennyson came through all right. We don’t want to put a man in a position where he’s telling you ‘everything is going fine’.
“When we’re a bit closer to the final, maybe a few days to it, we’ll certainly expect him to take part in a session. We’re not going to put him in blind and expect him to do great things for us. It’s again a wait-and-see.”
Whilst an exceptional player, Down fared well without Rogers in the semi-final when Peter Fitzpatrick was parachuted into the midfield alongside Kalum King.
“Look, I’m not going to say we expected to beat Kildare,” said McCartan. “We expected to be in with a chance of beating Kildare. Kildare are a good outfit. They’ve improved even more than us incrementally through the qualifiers maybe.
“We weren’t perfect. We got a bit of a rub of the green on the day.”
Down approach the final with the more impressive recent form of the two combatants having accounted for Kerry as well as Kildare with some style and they will be seeking to maintain a proud tradition on the 19th.
The Ulster county has played in five senior All-Ireland finals and won them all – something which could engender either confidence or nerves in the current squad – although their manager insists such stats are irrelevant.
“The five All-Irelands in the past, I know I was part of two, but they’ve absolutely no relevance to this bunch. Would you rather have six All-Irelands out of six or seven out of nine? I’d rather have seven out of nine.
“It would be nice if we managed to pull it off, that these guys would join a select bunch and then it would be history but at the minute that’s just what it is, history.”
Meanwhile Fermanagh county board have dramatically ruled out ex-Erne boss Dominic Corrigan as a contender for the post vacated by Malachy O’Rourke. County Board PRO Deirdre Donnelly confirmed that only Sean Maguire and Darren Chapman would be interviewed. She said: “The committee will be interviewing the nominations that have been received by the club and there will be no fresh nominations at this stage.”
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