independent

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Fitness concerns for Evans

Four listed as doubtful ahead of crunch Kildare clash

Gearoid Murphy (above) is listed on the injury list
Gearoid Murphy (above) is listed on the injury list

As the day of reckoning looms, Manager Johnny Evans is sweating on the fitness of a number of players, as they look ahead to their Leinster Senior football opening round championship clash with Kildare in Netwatch Dr. Cullen Park on Saturday evening next.

Evans has brought so much to the Wicklow plate that the loss of four key players would be a severe interruption to his plans to gain a victory over this highly rated Lilywhites side. While Kildare will be trying to rein in expectations, particularly given their tendency to show inconsistency, Evans still feels that with the reserves at his disposal he still has the quality to meet the challenge that lies ahead.

Four players currently on the treatment table who face a real battle to prove their fitness but at this late stage one would not be surprised to see all four having to sit out this game.

There's a growing concern over the four players, with Paul McLoughlin (shoulder), Gearoid Murphy (shoulder, received in hurling action), Mark Fitzsimons (broken bone in hand) and Fintan O'Shea (shoulder) battling to prove their fitness but it now seems as if time is against them.

'We will give us long as possible for the players to prove their fitness but it does not auger well at the moment,' said Evans.

This is a young Wicklow team and a work in progress but Evans feel they have a real chance of causing an upset.

'The injuries may be a disruption but we have the bench. That is what a squad is all about,' added Evans.

Wicklow have a nice blend of experience and youth and will be led by Dean Healy, who is enjoying a huge season, along with Ross O'Brien, Jamie Snell and Darragh Fitzgerald, while Mark Kenny and Darren Hayden have also shown form in the league and in preparation for this game.

While the loss of four players would be a blow, Evans has every confidence in his squad.

'While it's difficult to lose four players it presents an opportunity for other to step up. We are looking forward to the game and the challenge that lies ahead,' added Evans.

Meanwhile the Senior hurlers are away to Donegal on Sunday and aside from some 'niggly injuries, manager Eamonn Scallan is reporting a strong team for their vital Christy Ring Cup opener.

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