MICHAEL Darragh Macauley is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a compound fracture of his finger in yesterday’s controversial Leinster semi-final victory over Kildare.
The Ballyboden powerhouse is now a certain absentee for the Leinster decider against yesterday’s other big Croke Park winners, Wexford, on Sunday week. And with the All-Ireland quarter-finals to be staged over the August Bank Holiday weekend in just five weeks, Macauley’s participation in a potential last-eight clash is now highly questionable. “I think he broke his finger in two places,” explained Pat Gilroy after the match. “The bone had come out of the flesh. It didn’t look pretty anyway.
It was pretty bad, there was no question of him continuing.” The blow leaves Gilroy with a midfield dilemma for the provincial final on July 10. The Dublin boss used three prospective replacements, Eamonn Fennell, Ross McConnell and Barry Cahill from the bench in yesterday’s last-gasp victory over the Lilywhites and along with Dennis Bastick, that trio will battle for the two midfield spots for the repeat of the 2008 Leinster final. Gilroy is also likely to be without Philly McMahon for the second game in succession. Kildare must pick themselves up to face Laois in the qualifiers on Saturday week after Cormac Reilly’s disputed decision to award Dublin an injury-time free for a foul by Aindriú Mac Lochlainn (right) on Bernard Brogan deprived them of a replay.