HOLDERS Derry have been dealt a number of shattering blows ahead of Sunday’s Division One Allianz NFL final with Kerry at Croke Park.
The Oak Leaf county will be without three key players in vice-captain Niall McCusker, Patsy Bradley and Sean Martie Lockhart.
McCusker’s brother died tragically on Tuesday after suffering an assault at the weekend. Bradley is ruled out with a hamstring injury, while the long-serving Lockhart, who won a league medal in 1996, is sidelined with an ankle injury.
Kerry are still unsure about Colm Cooper’s availability and Paul Galvin is one of several other players nursing injuries picked up in club games.
Sligo will keep the inspirational Eamon O’Hara in reserve for the start of their Division Four final against Antrim at Longford on Saturday. O’Hara is carrying a leg injury but could be sprung from the bench.
Cork will tonight announce their team to play Monaghan in Sunday’s Division Two final at Croke Park. And with Noel O’Donovan, Pearse O’Neill and John Miskella all recovered from injury the likelihood is that some changes will be made from the team that triumphed over Armagh.
On that occasion Michael Shields lined out at full-back with Noel O’Leary at left half back and Paddy Kelly on the 40. A fit again O’Donovan will be challenging for the full-back position. Miskella could be in line for a spot in the half backs, while the towering O’Neill could be recalled to the forward line.
Shields, Anthony, Lynch, Graham Canty, Ger Spillane, Alan O’Connor, Nicholas Murphy, Paul Kerrigan, Daniel Goulding, James Masters and Donnacha O’Connor looked bankers for starting positions with the remaining places up for grabs.
SLIGO (SF v Antrim): P. Greene; C. Harrison, N. McGuire, R. Donavan; M McNamara, N. Ewing J. Davey; E. Mullen T. Taylor; S. Stenson A. Costello S. Davery; D. Kelly, K. Sweeney, A. Marren
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