Tuesday 12 December 2017

Connolly winning race to be fit for Tyrone clash

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DIARMUID Connolly gave Dublin an injury scare last weekend by limping out of training, but it is believed he will be fully recovered in time for Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final with Tyrone at Croke Park (7.0).

The St Vincent's forward suffered a hip injury and had to pull up during an internal training match.

But it is not as bad as initially feared, which is a boost considering Pat Gilroy has already lost full-forward Eoghan O'Gara to a broken wrist he suffered in the Leinster final.

Kevin McManamon is believed to be pushing hard to take the full-forward slot, but Connolly has already played there this year and, although substituted in the Leinster final, he started all of Dublin's Allianz League and championship matches this season and is expected to do so again.

Central defender Cian O'Sullivan, who has had a long injury lay-off with a hamstring problem, proved his fitness in training last weekend and may play some part.

And the extra week's delay, caused as a result of Armagh and Wicklow's drawn match in an earlier qualifying round, has also helped injured players like midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley and corner-back Philly McMahon recover to full fitness to give Gilroy much-improved selection options.

His opposite number Mickey Harte has also seen his options increased after Stephen O'Neill, who has been plagued by hamstring problems, made a cameo off the bench last weekend in their qualifier win over Roscommon.

Harte has denied that Tyrone will be on a revenge mission after losing to Dublin last year for the first time in four quarter-final clashes between the two teams since 2005 having previously held the upper hand over the Leinster champions

"Revenge is not a great thing to be about," the Tyrone boss said. "It's about doing the best that you can.

"If we can play to the best of our potential then we're in with a great chance, and if we don't, we are going to be licking our wounds."

Elsewhere, Kerry football fans can breathe a sigh of relief as injury fears over attacking ace Darran O'Sullivan have eased.

Despite his scoring heroics against Limerick last Sunday, including that fabulous back-heeled goal, O'Sullivan was forced off early with a hamstring worry.

But a scan yesterday revealed that nothing is torn and he will just need intensive physio to recover in time for their semi-final with Mayo on August 21.

Kerry may have an extra defender to call on as Tommy Griffin has now got three full club games under his belt with Dingle and could give them more defensive back-up.

Irish Independent

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