Tuesday 24 April 2018

Louth boss Fitzpatrick in fitness race for showdown in Mullingar

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick may not be in a position to patrol the sideline tomorrow for what could be his last match in charge of the county team.

Fitzpatrick took ill on Wednesday night and was hospitalised with a suspected flared-up kidney stone.

He was under observation in Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda last night with the prospect of surgery not being ruled out.

One of his selectors, Gerry Cummiskey, said it was too early to speculate whether Fitzpatrick would make Mullingar tomorrow night for Louth's first-round qualifier game against Westmeath, the team they beat in the first round of the Leinster championship in May.

If Louth lose there is speculation that Fitzpatrick could bring to an end his three years in charge, despite consolidating the side's position in Division 2 earlier this year.

"I wouldn't just rule Peter being able to travel to Mullingar yet," said Cummiskey. "We'll know more later but there is a fair degree of pain involved."

Driving

Louth will almost certainly be without their All Star midfielder and driving force Paddy Keenan, who has been troubled with a knee injury since the defeat to Dublin.

Scan results yesterday revealed extensive damage to Keenan's knee.

With Ronan Carroll in trouble with a hip, and three of their other midfielders, Brian Donnelly, Brian White and James Califf, in the US, Louth are facing a crisis.

Fitzpatrick is not the only manager who may be considering his future after the weekend action.

His opposite number Pat Flanagan may also be on the cusp of departure after three championship seasons if Westmeath's losing run to Louth continues, while defeat in Longford would probably bring John Brennan's two-year reign to an end with Derry. Brennan has already intimated that he will be considering his future anyway at the end of this season.

Antrim's Liam Bradley, Carlow's Luke Dempsey and Longford's Glenn Ryan are three more managers who are in their fourth seasons and for whom defeat would have them giving strong consideration to their futures.

Ryan's success in leading Longford to Division 2 of the league and a championship win over Laois is likely to entice him to remain for a fifth year.

Meanwhile a Connacht Council meeting last night agreed that Hyde Park would host the provincial football decider between Mayo and Sligo on July 15.

Wexford (SH v Carlow) -- E Martin; E Moore, M O'Hanlon, K Rossiter; D Stamp, C Kenny, R Kehoe; D Redmond, D O'Keeffe; P J Nolan, G Sinnott, H Kehoe; P Morris, D Lyng, R Jacob.

Tipperary (SF v Offaly) -- P Fitzgerald; A Morrissey, P Codd, C McDonald; B Fox, R Kiely, A Campbell; G Hannigan, H Coughlan; P Austin, P Acheson, D Leahy; A Maloney, M Quinlivan, R Ryan.

Irish Independent

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