Army duo will not return for Vincent's clash - McNamee
Rhode's bid for Leinster club SFC final glory at the fifth attempt must be achieved without county star Anton Sullivan and Jake Kavanagh as the Defence Forces duo will not be making a surprise return from their UN tour of duty in Lebanon.
Reports circulated that the pair could make a surprise appearance in Portlaoise on Sunday as the Offaly champs bid to upset Dublin powerhouse St Vincent's, but team-mate Niall McNamee poured cold water over those rumours yesterday.
"It's not looking good, no," McNamee conceded. "The lads have been working hard to get them back, but no. Reports came back at the weekend that it's not going to happen.
"The fact that Ian Kilbride was away, he's in the Lebanon as well, and he wasn't back for last weekend (to play for St Brigid's against Corofin). . . I think that's after counting against them, which is a disaster. . . well it's not a disaster.
"The fact they've only recently gone, they probably weren't going to let them back that early. Before the semi-final no, absolutely not, but with a hope they might be able to get them for the final. But that's come up short.
"They were devastated going. There was that bit of hope that they were going to be back but word came through to say, 'no they won't be coming'.
"It's disappointing but we've expected it. In terms of our own camp there's been no negativity around it because we expected them not to be here.
"We just plough on, boys step in and away we go so it is what it is.
"We just move on from it. It's tough on the boys. I can only imagine what it's going to be like for them during the game on Sunday, trying to listen in online.
"It's going to be tough but we knew a few weeks ago. We've been planning away without them and if they were there it was going to be a bonus."