We might be odds-on with Paddy Power to win our clash with Westmeath this Sunday – with 83% of those who have, to date, responded to the poll on this site concurring with such a projected outcome – but, from this report in the Mayo News, it looks as if we could be missing four key players for this game. Full-forward Barry Moran (a player who has had more than his fair share of injuries over the last two years) has a hamstring injury and full-back Ger Cafferkey has ankle trouble, which saw him leave the field in last week’s Sigerson Cup semi-final (where he lined out for NUIG) after only six minutes. In addition, Alan Dillon’s groin injury has now mutated into a “back-cum-hamstring problem” while Pat Harte took a knock to his knee in training. From the sounds of it, it looks doubtful that we’ll see any of this quartet in action on Sunday.
The injuries to Moran and Cafferkey are particularly unfortunate, given that both players had, over our opening two league matches, begun to stake serious claims to these two problematical positions. Barry Kelly should be able to slot in at full-forward but it’s likely to be a case of mend-and-make-do at the back, with Liam O’Malley possibly being pressed into service (not for the first time) at no.3, thus allowing Kevin McLoughlin to make his competitive senior debut in the corner.
It’s annoying too that Pat Harte most likely won’t get the chance to build on his Man of the Match performance in that incredible second half against Donegal. This could, however, open the way for Ciaran Conroy to start in midfield and, after that late point in Letterkenny, he’s got to be worthy of a starting position in a match like this. By the way, is Seamus O’Shea over that injury yet, I wonder? If so, it would be good to give him some match time soon as well.
It’s hard to know what to make of Alan Dillon’s injury but I think it sounds like a problem he had either last year or the year before. Last year, he was out of sorts for much of the league campaign and only got going properly in the championship. It could be same story with him this year, by the looks of it.
On a brighter note, it looks as if Trevor Howley will be back well in advance of the real action in the summer. This piece in the Mayo News reports that the Knockmore man is back doing light training and should be ready for the proper thing in around four to six weeks. Losing Trevor just before the start of the championship last year was a real hammer blow so it’ll be great to have him back in harness in time for this year’s summer campaign.