Friday 24 March 2017

Travers close to shock return

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Wicklow goalkeeper Mervyn Travers is close to making his return from a career-threatening injury in Sunday's Leinster SFC opener against Kildare.

The luckless 'keeper has not lined out for the Garden County since a horrific injury last summer, when he broke his kneecap and ruptured tendons against Westmeath.

The Arklow man was replaced by Baltinglass' John Flynn for this year's Allianz League campaign and, after surgery, was advised to retire.

But Travers has defied medical opinion to return to county training in the past month and is on the verge of making a sensational comeback.

Team-mate Patrick McWalter suffered a similar injury -- a cracked kneecap -- also in a sorry injury coincidence for the county last summer. McWalter, a versatile attacker and ex-League of Ireland soccer player, returned during the National League but soon suffered a setback and is still out.

The Wicklow management will be loath to see Travers suffer the same fate by coming back too quickly so may not risk him this weekend.

It looks unlikely that the county's dual stars Leighton Glynn and Stephen 'Chester' Kelly will 'double up' and play for both the footballers and hurlers this weekend but county sources did not definitively rule it out yesterday, which indicates it is being contemplated.

Since the end of the NFL, the pair have lined out for the county's hurlers and played a key role.

They helped Wicklow win the Division 3A NHL title and to reach the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup, in which they play arch-rivals Kildare in Aughrim on Saturday.

Wicklow asked the Central Competitions Control Committee to switch their Christy Ring game to avoid this weekend's football clash. They offered to play the Christy Ring semi-final last week, or in a week's time, but their request was refused.

It is more likely that the duo will concentrate solely on football this weekend -- Glynn is the county football captain -- but it is believed that a firm decision has not yet been made on them playing some part for the hurlers.

Irish Independent

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