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Sheehan blow for O'Connor's Kerry

KERRY captain Bryan Sheehan looks set to miss the Kingdom's National League opener against Dublin in Killarney on February 7 and their second round clash with rivals Cork a week later after damaging ankle ligaments during yesterday's McGrath Cup victory over Waterford.

Sheehan, playing in his second match in just 24 hours after Thursday nights postponed clash with IT Tralee was put back to Saturday, was carried off during the second half of the 2-12 to 3-5 defeat of the Deise and a subsequent x-ray confirmed the injury would keep him out until at least mid February.

By that stage, Sheehan had kicked (0-6 (3f, 1 '45') from centre forward and his performance represented one of Kerry's most inspirational of the afternoon, though Kieran Donaghy's 2-2 from full-forward ultimately sealed the result for the All-Ireland champions.

Sheehan, who played only in the early rounds of last year's successful All-Ireland campaign, has been tipped to nail down a spot in Jack O'Connor's plans for their Sam Maguire defence and after starring for South Kerry en route to a county championship, was nominated by the divisional side to captain Kerry in 2010 ahead of former Young Player of the Year, Killian Young.

David Moran, who played in midfield alongside Seamus Scanlon, limped off in the first half, though the injury is not thought to be as serious.

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p BARRY CAHILL has set March 7 as the comeback date from the groin injury which will force him to miss the opening rounds of the NFL. The St Brigid's man will miss Dublin's O'Byrne Cup campaign and both the Kerry match in Killarney (Feb7) and Dublin's first home tie of the league against Derry six days later.