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In brief: Cunningham hangs up boots

EXPERIENCED Waterford forward Stephen Cunningham has retired from inter-county football.

Cunningham, 35 in April, has informed team manager Johnny Owens that he will not be making himself available for the forthcoming campaign.

Waterford begin their season with a McGrath Cup quarter-final against Tipperary at Walsh Park on Sunday, but will have to plan without Stradbally clubman Cunningham, who made over 50 appearances for the Deise since 2001.

Owens also revealed that long-term injury victim Liam O Lionain is making good progress as he continues his recovery from a broken leg, while Tony Grey is battling his way back to fitness following groin surgery.

However, it has been confirmed that experienced Tramore forward Paul Ogle, who has suffered terribly with injury in recent seasons, will not be involved this season.

Another forward, Conor McGrath, is also unavailable to Owens, having emigrated last year, but the manager has kept in touch with the Brickey Rangers clubman.

Owens revealed: "Conor's father Jim is a selector with me and in constant contact with the guy.

"That's they way it's going to be -- there's a lot of counties in the same boat.

"Hopefully, the GAA can keep what they have and use their contacts. A lot of club and county teams have been affected."

Emigration hits Limerick on double

LIMERICK'S footballers will be without the services of Padraig Browne and Conor Ranahan for the season.

Wing-forward Browne and sub goalkeeper Ranahan, who made his senior inter-county debut last year, are the latest victims of the emigration crisis.

Limerick begin their 2011 competitive campaign next Sunday against All-Ireland champions Cork in the McGrath Cup quarter-final.

Irish Independent