KEVIN McMANAMON has been declared available for selection as Dublin footballers count down the days to their eagerly awaited Leinster SFC semi-final against Kildare on Sunday week.
But there is still no firm comeback date on the horizon for Alan Brogan (below), even though manager Jim Gavin stressed that the 2011 Footballer of the Year is "very close" to featuring in Dublin's internal training matches.
While McManamon has recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him for Dublin's quarter-final cruise past Westmeath, Brogan's recovery from the osteitis pubis injury that has dogged him since last July remains a work in progress.
But the manager for whom he has yet to play gave a positive update at a Dublin press conference in the Gibson Hotel this morning. "He's on the park and he's moving well, but he won't be available for this game," Gavin said in reference to the Kildare match.
Asked about his participation in Dublin's A v B training games, the manager replied: "He's very close to that at the moment." But he was non-specific on when or if we'll see Brogan in Sky Blue this year.
"Let's get over Kildare on Sunday week. His plan is to return to play during the summer, if we're still involved in the competition," replied Gavin, who also indicated that his comeback schedule would involve some club action with St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh.
"Any of the players who are return-to-play, we do let them out to the clubs and there's no exception to that really. Because the club games – be they either cup games or the adult league games – are competitive. These guys need competitive games," he stressed. "For example, Eoghan O'Gara was put out to the club to play club football over recent weeks to get him match-time."
On McManamon's state of fitness, he revealed: "Kevin played with St Jude's against Ballyboden last weekend and came through the game fine, so he's good to go."
Definitely gone for the season is Tomás Brady, who is awaiting reconstructive knee surgery. "He's already in the programme to recover for next season, so mentally he's a very strong man and he'll return probably stronger," Gavin predicted.