Lynch blow for lilywhites
KILDARE have been hit by another massive injury blow with midfielder Hugh Lynch expected to be ruled out of tonight's All-Ireland qualifier against Meath, writes Cliona Foley.
The Confey man suffered a knee injury at training last Monday night and is currently on crutches awaiting a full diagnosis after undergoing further tests yesterday.
It is feared that Lynch could be the latest of the Lilywhite players to be hit with a dreaded anterior cruciate (ACL) injury. Kildare have been plagued by ACL injuries in recent seasons.
All Star corner-back Peter Kelly and ex-All Star Dermot Earley are both currently rehabbing after ACL surgeries, while Mikey Conway is just back from a two-year lay-off after suffering complications with the same injury. Darryl Flynn is expected to replace Lynch at centre-field.
One consolation is that captain John Doyle will line out in midfield. There was an injury scare about the Kildare captain earlier this week, but he came through training successfully.
There has been some surprise that James Kavanagh was not selected after doing so well off the bench last week and there is speculation that he could yet be among tonight's starters.
Elsewhere, Armagh have lost Ciaran McKeever and Paul Duffy to injury ahead of tonight's big replay with Wicklow in Aughrim. Declan McKenna replaces Duffy, Kevin Dyas moves back to centre-back and John Hanratty replaces him at wing-forward.
Down boss James McCartan has drafted in Gerard McCartan and underage star Caolan Mooney to start against Antrim in Casement Park.
McCartan replaces Kevin Duffin in the half-back line, while Mooney is named in a rearranged attack at the expense of Paul McComiskey.
KILDARE (SF v Meath) -- S Connolly; A MacLochlainn, M Foley, H McGrillen; G White, M O'Flaherty, E Bolton; J Doyle, AN Other; P O'Neill, E O'Flaherty, E Callaghan; R Kelly, T O'Connor, F Dowling.
DOWN (SF v Antrim) -- B McVeigh; A Branagan, D Gordon, B McArdle; C Garvey, K McKernan, G McCartan; D Rooney, K King; C Mooney, M Poland, L Doyle; C Laverty, B Coulter, M Clarke.
ARMAGH (SF v Wicklow) -- P Hearty; A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna; A Kernan, K Dyas, F Moriarty; J Lavery, C Vernon; J Hanratty, B Mallon, M Mackin; M O'Rourke, S McDonnell, J Clarke.