BALLYDUFF forward Gary O'brien is to miss Kerry's opening round game in the Christy Ring Cup this Saturday afternoon against Wicklow (Arklow, 2.30pm).
O'brien is suffering from a long term groin injury with a date for his return to the fold as of yet undetermined. He's been joined on the sidelines by Crotta O'neills star Andrew Keane who damanged his shoulder during a recent County League fixture for his club and by Causeway defender Bryan Murphy, who suffered a cruciate tear, also during a recent County League fixture. All three players were in contention for starting roles.
The loss of O'brien, a star of Kerry's triumph over Wicklow in last year's Christy Ring Cup final, further weakens Kerry's troublesome half-forward line in the wake of injuries to John Egan and to Barry O'grady in recent months.
Kerry boss John Meyler has indicated that he will continue to give youth its head in much the same manner as he did in the league. "It's as simple as this: we want to prepare for the Munster championship, whatever it is two or three years down the line, we've got to be prepared and give younger fellas their chance," he told The Kerryman this week.
"That's the bottom line with us. Out of those three All Ireland Under 21 teams, the likes of Godley, Paud Costello, Shane Nolan, Darragh O'connell... all those fellas have come out of those teams. That's what we're trying to build on."
The Kerry minor hurlers face Tipperary in the first round of the Munster championship in Thurles tonight, Wednesday.