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Connaughton's injury nightmare

GARY CONNAUGHTON'S American dream turned into a nightmare just five minutes into his first game across the Atlantic.

The former All Star goalkeeper, who quit the Westmeath panel earlier this month to pursue a summer of work and football in Boston, has broken his ankle in two places and plans to fly home in the next week to continue his recuperation.

Westmeath were already resigned to launching their qualifier campaign - at home to Louth this Saturday - without their 2012 captain. Now, however, Connaughton won't be able to play any football for the rest of the year.

"It's totally bad luck," he told the Evening Herald when contacted in Boston. The towering netminder only flew out on Tuesday of last week, started work the next day, and was playing his first game for the Wolfe Tones club at the weekend when disaster struck.

"The game was five minutes in when I fell down awkwardly and broke it (the ankle) in two places," he explained.

Meanwhile, Westmeath boss Pat Flanagan is hoping to have two key performers available for this Saturday's 'back door' rematch against Louth. Full-back Kieran Gavin returned to full contact training last night while rising midfield star John Heslin will get word from his specialist tomorrow whether he can play this weekend following recent keyhole surgery to his knee.

KERRY midfielder and freetaker, Bryan Sheehan, is expected to make his comeback from injury this weekend in a challenge game against Sligo.