Thursday 19 October 2017

Roscommon rocked by Cox's enforced retirement

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

ROSCOMMON footballer Gary Cox has called time on his inter-county career due to persistent ankle trouble.

The 30-year-old has been plagued by injury in recent years and his decision to retire comes as a massive blow to Rossies manager Fergal O'Donnell, who has seen his side suffer defeat in their two National League outings to date.

Cox captained Roscommon last year and has lined out for the International Rules side, but they will travel to Offaly for a division 3 clash on Sunday without the St Faithleach's man.

"I am disappointed," he said. "I had fully intended on going back for another year at least. We had a good year last year and we have some lovely young footballers coming through, so it is a shame."

Alan Smith will be back in training with the Kildare footballers next week, making a quick return after dropping out of the squad at the end of January.

The Sarsfields attacker suffered a back injury during a weights session that ruled him out of the O'Byrne Cup and afterwards dropped out of the squad, stating he was unable to give the necessary commitment.

However, Lilywhite manager Kieran McGeeney has always been adamant that there would be a place for Smith in the squad once he was in a position to commit himself. He resumed gym work this week, and while he will not be considered for Sunday's crunch Division 2 tie with Donegal, he is expected to return to full-time training next week.

"Alan is back in the gym," confirmed selector Niall Carew yesterday. "Everything is fine now and he will be ready to rejoin the panel in the next week or so."

Veteran Anthony Rainbow is a doubt for the clash with the Ulstermen, but John Doyle and Gary White are both available for selection again.

Leitrim's championship hopes have suffered a big setback, with one of their most experienced players out for the year with a medial knee ligament injury.

Colin Regan (34) had just returned to the Leitrim squad over the winter, having missed last season through work commitments, but now his inter-county career could be over.

Joint manager Mickey Moran said that Regan's loss was a huge blow to the side, as the experienced attacker brought a lot to the team.

"I'm gutted for Colin," said Moran. "We had encouraged him to come back and his return was a real plus for us. He's so well respected and is a leader on and off the pitch."

Irish Independent

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