Wednesday 16 October 2019

O’Keeffe a major doubt

Fitzgerald 'devastated' by injury to St. Anne's clubman

Diarmuid O’Keeffe in Walsh Cup final action earlier in the year against Galway, who will be our championship opponents on May 26
Diarmuid O’Keeffe in Walsh Cup final action earlier in the year against Galway, who will be our championship opponents on May 26

Brendan Furlong

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is facing a number of injury concerns ahead of their Leinster Senior hurling championship opener with Dublin on May 19.

Diarmuid O'Keeffe, who had returned to top form during the Allianz League campaign, limped out of St. Anne's Senior hurling league game with St. Martin's, days after the county's league exit to Galway.

O'Keeffe suffered a dead leg, and is now on crutches, with his recovery time limited just six weeks out from the championship.

Now it's believed that the St. Anne's dual player faces a race against time given the nature of the injury, which has also forced him to miss out on his club's football and hurling championship games this month.

It's still unclear the amount of time it will taker to enable him to return to preparation for the championship opener. He is undergoing intense treatment at the moment, but his injury is a major concern to Fitzgerald.

Wexford commence their championship campaign against Dublin in Parnell Park on Sunday, May 19, and they have also been hit with further concerns as the clubs prepare to go into two rounds of county hurling championship action.

While O'Keeffe is on the treatment table, he will be joined by clubmate Liam Og McGovern who limped out of the St. Anne's Senior football championship game with Fethard on Sunday early in the first-half. The game eventually ended in a draw.

McGovern is reported to be suffering from a tight hamstring which saw him struggle early in the game, forcing his eventual substitution.

Also on the growing treatment table is defender James Breen who underwent knee surgery some three weeks ago, but it is hoped that he can return to full training by the end of the month.

The injuries are of huge concern to manager Fitzgerald who must now sit anxiously through two weekends of club hurling action.

'The injury to Dee is quite serious. We cannot put a time frame on it but it leaves me devastated,' he said.

'He was playing quality hurling, had returned to top form, while the amount of ground he covers is phenomenal. It's the type of injury which is difficult to assess.

'We've been told four to six weeks, but that would leave him little time for preparation. That's how serious it is.

'On Liam Og it's a tight hamstring. We will have it assessed further and take it from there. '

Fitzgerald is confident that James Breen can play a role in the championship.

'James had his knee operation about three weeks ago. Should we be able to get him back training before the end of the month it would give him up to four weeks' preparation. It would leave us with an option even off the bench.'

While Fitzgerald was still awaiting reports on further injury concerns from the weekend football action on Monday morning, he has two anxious weekends ahead of him as the players open the county hurling championship action with their clubs.

'I'm waiting on physio Harry Goff to ring me on any further injury concerns,' Fitzgerald said.

Gorey Guardian