As has already been mentioned some clarity is emerging about the severity of the injuries suffered last Sunday by both Cillian O’Connor and Lee Keegan. Mike Finnerty touches on this in a piece in the Mayo News (here) while there’s also an article in the Irish Mirror today (here) covering much the same ground about the two lads. RTÉ even managed to rouse themselves from their slumbers to give the injured duo a mention in the sports bulletin on Morning Ireland earlier on.
Before anyone starts doing cartwheels around the kitchen, though, at the news that things aren’t as bad as the initial wild rumours might have suggested, it’s worth noting that it’s still far from clear exactly how long either of them will be out. Mike Finnerty’s piece cautions that both players were due to undergo MRI scans yesterday to assess the extent of their injuries. There’s no word yet what these screenings showed.
Cillian’s injury, clearly, is the less concerning one. Providing it’s not a serious hamstring tear he should be back in training well before the Galway game and rearing to go on 13th May. Even if it is a more significant pull he should still be able to make the game, though his involvement in training leading up to it might have to be curtailed.
Lee, though, is a different matter altogether. If it is a dislocation – and that’s what it appears to be – then this is potentially a whole truckload of trouble for him, given the high danger of the shoulder popping again. Recall that Cillian suffered two dislocations in the summer of 2013 and eventually, after it happened a third time later that year, had to undergo surgery to sort the problem.
Even then, surgery isn’t an ideal fix. For a combative performer like Lee, a player whom you can be sure will now be targeted in this area every time he takes the field, this injury can only be seen as very bad news.
Will he be okay for Galway? Impossible to tell at this junction, though you’d have to say it’s doubtful. In one sense, this might be okay, as Lee tends to get better as the summer progresses. On the flip-side, though, the thought of not having the option of dispatching Damien Comer to Keegan Island for the afternoon of 13th May is a worrying one. Galway will, for sure, fancy their chances better if Lee isn’t lining out for us then.
Billy Joe Padden makes the point in his column in this week’s Mayo News (here) that the injuries to the two lads, whom he describes as our two most important players (an assertion that’s hard to argue with), will undercut our aim of “being ready to produce a match-winning performance” against Galway. Getting the lads fit for two months time is one thing but their loss on the training ground in the interim is something that can’t be made good ahead of 13th May and that’s sure to impact how we perform on the day.
That’s all, I know, a bit depressing (unless you’re a lurker from across the border) but it is how it is.
Just to finish on a brighter point, though, if you could flick back for a minute to the first piece linked above you’ll see Mike mentions that Chris Barrett played an hour of club football last Saturday in his first match back after the knee surgery he underwent before Christmas. The All-Star Belmullet man would be a great addition to the squad for Sunday and if Stephen Rochford could persuade Keith Higgins to leave down that oul’ hurl this weekend too that would be a further boost to our chances of getting a result in Ballybofey.