Sunday 26 May 2019

Kehoe's absence a blow for Wexford footballers

Cloughbawn’s Colm Kehoe won’t be lining out with the Wexford footballers this year
Cloughbawn’s Colm Kehoe won’t be lining out with the Wexford footballers this year

Brendan Furlong

Colm Kehoe has handed Wexford a real blow ahead of their 2019 national football league campaign.

The Cloughbawn clubman who had been a regular with the Senior football squad prior to opting for hurling in 2018 has signalled his intention not to make himself available for the new season.

When he was not included in Davy Fitzgerald's hurling set-up for 2019 it was confidently expected that he would make a return to the football fold.

However, manager Paul McLoughlin has indicated, that Kehoe will not be returning.

McLoughlin said: 'Colm Kehoe will not be available to us this year. He has decided to concentrate on rehab over next three to four months and see how the club championship goes for him.'

When Kehoe joined the hurling set-up he was coming off the back of a serious hamstring injury, for which he underwent intensive rehab while in the hurling set-up.

However his opportunities with the hurling set-up became more and more limited as the season progressed so it came as no real surprise when he was not part of Fitzgerald's plans for the new season.

Having won their opening O'Byrne Cup game against Louth, Wexford's second round game with Laois scheduled for Saturday last was cancelled owing to the weather.

The game has been rescheduled for this Thursday evening in St. Patrick's Park in Enniscorthy.

McLoughlin was happy with the way his players adapted to the new rules in the Louth victory.

The 5 p.m. start lent a historical significance for it was the first inter-county game played under the new rules which have grabbed the headlines over the past two weeks.

Since the GAA's Standing Committee unveiled five changes to be trialled in the pre-season competition with a view to also being used in the Allianz National Football League, there has been no shortage of opinion as to how they may work.

McLoughlin feels his players have adapted well to the new rules and is confident of further improvement against Laois.

On the handpass apart from Wexford losing a goal owing to a fourth handpass at the end of a brilliant move, McLoughlin is happy with the rule but feels a slight tweak could be made.

'It was noticable the players were buying back the three handpasses by playing a kick pass in between. What I did notice was players utilising the space by carrying the ball and releasing a kick pass. It has brought the solo run, which is a skill in itself, more into the game, while also introducing the foot pass.

'One tweak that should be considered is the possible allowing of the extra hand pass once the movement is inside the opponents' fourteen metre line. It would mean the continuation of a flowing move and possibly excellent scores.

'Our goal was the end of a splendid flowing move but we errored with a fourth pass, which was a pity, for it was a great goal.'

McLoughlin believes the new rules will benefit the game, having no problem with the sideline kick, the sin bin which can be of benefit, with the kick-out having no discernable impact other than being taken from the 20-metre line.

On the advanced mark he was happy that it benefits the clean catch when long deliveries cleanly fielded can lead to scores, while it can also benefit defensively.McLoughlin is now looking forward to Wexford's second round game with Laois on Thursday evening.

He will be without the exam tied Martin O'Connor and Cathal Devereux, along with Gavin Sheehan.

McLouglin said: 'I have brought in James Cash (Shelmaliers), Sean Kenny (HWH/Bunclody) and John Roche (Gusserane) to the squad, while Tiernan Rossiter and Eoin Porter are set to return shortly from injury. John Tubritt has also rejoined this week having had a long club season.

'The game against Laois will give players a further opportunity. Both sides like to play open football so should make for a real test.'

Enniscorthy Guardian