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Four Leitrim players axed for 'breaches of discipline'

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Wayne McKeon

Wayne McKeon

Wayne McKeon

FOUR players have been dropped from the Leitrim panel ahead of their Connacht SFC semi-final against London in Carrick-on-Shannon on June 23.

The four have been axed for "breaches of discipline that have fallen below the strict code of standards as agreed by team management and players."

The county board declined to name the players , but they are understood to be Ballinamore duo Wayne McKeon and Shane Moran and brothers Tomas and Conor Beirne from the Eslin club.

Both McKeon (below) and Tomas Beirne started for Leitrim in their opening victory against New York, where Beirne got the 'Man of the Match' award.

Moran missed that trip due to exam commitments, but was believed to have been challenging strongly for a starting place against London, while Beirne scored the decisive goal when Leitrim beat Sligo in the Connacht championship two years ago.

This year's lop-sided Connacht draw, and Sligo's shock defeat by London, has given Leitrim a great chance of reaching the provincial final for the first time since 2000, but the loss of four players is sure to weaken their team.

They also have injury worries over James Glancy, Gerry Hickey and Ray Cox.

Elsewhere, Kildare have dropped Sean Hurley from their panel for Saturday's Leinster SFC opener against Offaly – again for disciplinary reasons.

The Johnstownbridge midfielder was also axed two years after going to a music festival while they were still involved in the All-Ireland qualifiers. He has reportedly been demoted to the county's junior team, which indicates that he could get a senior re-call later this summer.

Westmeath boss Pat Flanagan has named an unchanged side for Saturday's match against Leinster champions Dublin at Croke Park, keeping faith with the players who easily dispensed with Carlow in the opening round.

Waterford inter-provincial footballer Gary Hurney has recovered from a knee injury to take his place at full-forward for their Munster semi-final with Kerry on Saturday, but the Deise will be without Liam O Lionan (quad injury).

Tommy Prendergast has been included at midfield, despite having fractured a finger, while Shane Aherne has shaken off an ankle problem in time to take his place.

LAOIS BLOW

Justin McNulty's hopes of re-energising Laois for the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers have been rocked by the news that former captain Kevin Meaney and key forward Gary Walsh are travelling to New York for the rest of the summer. A number of other Laois players may also be on their way to the States.

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald will give four players their Munster senior hurling championship debuts against Waterford on Sunday.

Full-back David McInerney, midfielders Colm Galvin and Conor Ryan and full-forward Shane O'Donnell (19) were all on the Clare team that won the All-Ireland U-21 title last year. In all, the Banner have included nine of last year's U-21s.

CLARE (SH v Waterford) – P Kelly; D O'Donovan, D McInerney, S Morey; B Bugler, P Donnellan (Capt), P O'Connor; C Galvin, C Ryan; J Conlon, T Kelly, C Ryan; P Collins, S O'Donnell, C McGrath.

Waterford (SH ) – I O'Regan; D Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, P Prendergast; S O'Sullivan, K Moran; M Shanahan, S Prendergast, B O'Halloran; J Barron, P Mahony, J Dillon.

WESTMEATH (SF v Dublin) – G Connaughton; M McCallon, K Gavin, K Maguire; D Harte, P Sharry, J Gaffey; D Duffy, J Heslin; K Martin, C McCormack, J Dolan; G Egan, D Glennon, D Dolan.

WATERFORD (SF v Kerry) – S Enright; T O hUallachain, N Walsh, M O'Gorman; C Phelan, S Briggs, J Hurney; M O'Gorman, T Prendergast; T Grey, S Aherne, A Doyle; P Whyte, G Hurney, R Aherne.

LAOIS (SH v Carlow) – E Reilly; B Stapleton, B Campion, J A Delaney; C Healy, M Whelan, G Burke; J Fitzpatrick, J Walsh; S Maher, Z Keenan, W Hyland; J Brophy, T Fitzgerald, B Dunne.

Irish Independent