The final round of group matches took place at county championship level over the weekend and with just two weeks to go until our All-Ireland semi-final with Kerry, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was concerned about key players getting crocked on club duty. That’s not to say that the club fixtures shouldn’t have gone ahead: they have to be played at some point and, from experience in recent years, a number of injuries suffered by lads playing for the county have occurred during training or when playing challenge games.
We didn’t get off scot-free on the injury front over the weekend but I suppose it could have been a lot worse. This report in Hogan Stand confirms the stories I’d been hearing about Peadar Gardiner’s hamstring pull on Saturday when playing for Crossmolina against Ballintubber and the concussion suffered by Mark Ronaldson in Shrule-Glenncorrib’s match with Tourmakeady.
From what I understand, Peadar’s hamstring injury is a proper one and, if this is the case, then it most likely means he won’t be able to take any part in the semi-final. This would be a pity because he’s very much part of James Horan’s 20-man match team and has come on as a sub in each of our four championship matches to date, scoring a vital late point when did he so in the Connacht final against Roscommon. He has plenty of Croke Park experience and this year has tended to come on as forward-cum-middle-third man when the likes of Kevin McLoughlin has emptied the tank. If he is out, we’ll definitely miss him the next day.
I hear that Mark Ronaldson ended up in A&E with concussion yesterday but there’s no reason to expect that he won’t be okay to take his place on the bench on Sunday week. Mark hasn’t featured for us so far in the championship (indeed he was dropped from the panel prior to the London match but was recalled after the Ruislip near-miss) and it’d be a bit of a surprise to see him doing so against the Kingdom.
That same report also states that Aidan O’Shea got a slight knock in Breaffy’s tempestuous defeat to Knockmore (they don’t mention that he also ended up with an early bath, having picked up two yellows) but it doesn’t look as if this will prevent him from lining out against the Kerrymen on the 21st.
There’s little or nothing to report from the opposition camp at this stage. Darran O’Sullivan’s hamstring problem is unlikely to keep him from lining out, Bryan Sheehan has been blathering on about their hunger being back (do those feckers never eat at all down there or what?) while Jack O’Connor has been yerra-ing furiously about how great we are. As I said, nothing of note to report right now.