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Ryan coy on Kelly comeback for Lilywhites

JASON Ryan expects to have more of his squad available for Kildare's next Allianz League Division 1 clash with Tyrone on March 2, although former All Star Peter Kelly is not one of them.

Kelly, who has been battling a serious knee injury, was expected to miss his club Two Mile House's visit to Croke Park last Sunday for the AIB All-Ireland club Junior final against Fuerty of Roscommon.

An avalanche of goals meant the Kildare side were well in command going into the final stages and with two minutes to play, Kelly – an All Star in 2010 – was introduced as a substitute.

However, Ryan does not expect Kelly to be available in the short-to-medium term and insisted after Sunday's defeat by Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn: "We have a lot of lads coming through.

"A lot of the senior fellas that you would be hoping... the spine of the team, the Peter Kellys... they're not going to be around for a while yet."

Bolstering Ryan's defensive options, however, is the news that Ollie Lyons should be back and fit, having played against Mayo in round one of the League but missed out in Cork, for the match against the team that beat Kildare on three separate occasions last year.


"He should be fine for the Tyrone game," Ryan revealed. "He has a slight knock and a slight strain on his hamstring so he should be all right."

Ditto Pádraig Fogarty, who starred in Kildare's successful retention of the O'Byrne Cup, but missed both of their League matches thus far. "Maybe Podge (Pádraig Fogarty) could have played today but the risk a hamstring injury is, if you have a slight hamstring injury and you do serious damage to it, you're gone for six weeks," warned his manager.

"If that was the case with Podge, he would miss pretty much the whole National League."

There was also some concern from the travelling Kildare crowd in Cork on Sunday that Emmet Bolton had sustained serious injury having been helped off the pitch at half-time and failing to reappear after the break but Ryan alleviated fears.

"He came in with a bit of a knock on his knee and mobility-wise, he wasn't where we needed it to be," he explained.

Captain Eamonn Callaghan, Eoin Doyle and Niall Kelly are all still out after undergoing hip surgery although it is still hoped that Kelly, Kildare's attacking find of 2013, will be back in time for the Lilywhites' Leinster Under-21 opener against Wexford or Offaly in Athy on March 5.