CORK look certain to have to plan without Donncha O’Connor for Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier round 2 tie against Cavan at Páirc Uí Chaoimh as the attacker continues to be hampered by an Achilles tendon problem while Paul Kerrigan is another doubt with a hamstring worry.
O’Connor has found his involvement curtailed in recent weeks and was sidelined for local championship matches with his club Ballydesmond. Kerrigan’s fitness will be monitored as the week progresses.
Cork are also without Eoin Cadogan, whose focus is on Sunday’s Munster hurling decider.
But there is better news elsewhere on the injury front. Aidan Walsh has shaken off the hamstring problem that forced him off 15 minutes into last month’s Munster SFC semi-final replay defeat by Kerry to be in contention for a starting berth, Nicholas Murphy made his comeback to football action last weekend for his club Carrigaline after suffering from a serious back complaint all season and John Miskella is also in the frame after a groin problem.
Meanwhile, Galway boss Joe Kernan has slammed the GAA fixtures which could see his side playing six weeks in succession after been idle for eight weeks after playing the first round. Galway take on Wexford on Saturday with a mounting injury list as Michael Meehan, Gary Sice and Finian Hanley all picked up injuries in the weekend loss to Sligo. It will be Galway’s third game in 14 days and if they make it to the All-Ireland quarter-finals it will mean six weekends of action in succession.
“That situation needs to be looked at. We were idle for eight weeks having played our first match and then it is a game every weekend after that. It’s hard to build momentum given that sort of fixture schedule.”
Galway are unlikely to have captain Meehan available for this weekend after a scan revealed ankle ligament damage, yet Kernan could be boosted by the return of Nicky Joyce from a knee injury which saw him miss both games against Sligo.
Leitrim boss Mickey Moran is hopeful his side can end their All-Ireland qualifier jinx, having lost all eight games since the system was introduced earlier this decade. Leitrim, beaten by neighbours Roscommon, face a difficult task on Saturday when they travel to Newbridge to meet Kildare.
“I have always said to players that they should write their own history,” said Moran. “We have worked hard on changing the mindset in Leitrim and Saturday presents a chance to do that. Kildare are a fine side, they have been a top eight team for the past decade and they have some tremendous players.
“But we did well against Roscommon and know where we can step up and hopefully these boys will get top express the football we know is in them on Saturday,” said Moran who has no new injury problems.
Meanwhile, Louth man Brian Donnelly is set to end his Aussie Rules career after it was announced yesterday that he will be returning to Ireland at the end of July. The 21-year-old struggled to make an impact with the Adelaide Crows, a combination of homesickness and injury stunting his development.
Donnelly became the Crows’ first Irish recruit two years ago after impressing during a three-week trial and was playing for Central District in the South Australia National Football League until discovering recently that he would need a shoulder reconstruction. He will have the operation done in Australia before flying home in three weeks.
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