There was a piece by Mike Finnerty on the RTÉ website yesterday (here) which replicated in large part a report he’d penned in this week’s Mayo News about what’s going on with players injured, players readying to come back and all that.
Let’s deal with the headline news first, which is that midfielder Seamus O’Shea damaged ankle ligaments in training recently and so will play no further part in this year’s League campaign.
To be honest, Seamie had seen very little action this year prior to the injury. The only game he started was the FBD match against Leitrim in early January and his sole League appearance was when he came on at Croke Park for the second half against Dublin. He replaced the injured Paddy Durcan at the break in that game, coming in at midfield with Donal Vaughan switching to wing-back.
While Seamie’s absence doesn’t alter much for us from a playing perspective ahead of our final two League games, the fact that the injury he suffered is described as “significant ankle ligament damage” has to be of at least some concern. It sounds like a problem that could take months, not weeks, to recover from, which, if this is the case, might well render the experienced midfielder unavailable for the opening stages of the Championship.
Elsewhere, the news is more positive. Ger Cafferkey and Paddy Durcan, who, as well as Ciaran Treacy, went off injured in the Dublin game, are expected to be available for selection for the Kerry game. Ciaran – who hobbled off with an ankle injury at Croke Park – might not be fit for Round 6 but Evan Regan, injured late on in the opening round match against Roscommon, may be back for Tralee.
So too might longer-term absentee Cillian O’Connor. The county’s all-time leading scorer underwent knee surgery prior to Christmas and he said last month that his worst case expectation was that he’d be back in action by mid-to-late March.
I’d say there’s a chance we might see Cillian make a substitute appearance against Kerry, though I’d imagine this would depend very much on our need for a result down in Tralee. If Galway beat Roscommon earlier that day then the Kerry match is stripped of any importance from our point of view so the only reason to pitch him in there would be to give him a bit of a gallop. Were this to happen then we’d be likely to start him in the final round game against Monaghan the following weekend.
That piece linked to at the top also confirms that there’s no return date as yet for Cian Hanley – who, like Cillian, underwent knee surgery before Christmas – but he definitely won’t be back ahead of our final two League matches.
There’s no word, though, about Ryan O’Donoghue, who underwent ankle surgery soon after captaining Belmullet to the county Intermediate championship title late last year. An article on the GAA website (here) at the start of the year stated that he was expected to be back “in time for the latter stages” of the League but there’s no sign as yet that this will happen.
Another player who has played a bit for us so far this year but seems to have disappeared off the radar is Conor Diskin. He’s not mentioned in Mike’s injury list piece and I’m not even sure at this stage that he’s injured at all. Whatever the reason for his absence, though, he’s definitely no longer featuring in the fairly prominent way he did at the start of the year.