Saturday 24 March 2018

Donaghy trip to Munich may have cost him starting place for Kingdom

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

KIERAN Donaghy's passion for Chelsea, and not that costly misplaced pass against Mayo in the league semi-final, looks like it has cost the Kerry star his starting place against Tipperary tomorrow.

The former Footballer of the Year has been dropped by Jack O'Connor from the Kingdom's first 15 for the first time since the 2009 All-Ireland final.

There was some surprise that Kieran O'Leary was given the half-forward spot that Donaghy had been occupying during the league, and Darran O'Sullivan was given the full-forward jersey.

Now there is speculation that it was not Donaghy's league semi-final blooper that saw him dropped, but his decision to travel to the Champions League final last weekend, against the wishes of the team management.

He was also reportedly late for an in-house training game last Friday night, which did not go down too well with O'Connor and his selectors.

The Austin Stacks dynamo is included among the Kerry substitutes and is expected to be sprung at some stage in tomorrow's double-header in Thurles.

Elsewhere St Patrick' wing-back Dean Healy is Wicklow's only championship debutant for their Leinster SFC clash with Meath tomorrow.

Manager Harry Murphy has named the same 15 starters that lined out in Wicklow's Division 4 final victory last month, including dual star Stephen Kelly, who will also be playing for their hurlers against Meath today in the Christy Ring Cup semi-finals.


Wicklow's other big dual star, Leighton Glynn, is only expected to line out for the footballers, whom he captains. His older brother Enan leads the county's hurlers in an unusual family double this weekend.

Elsewhere, Down have suffered another injury setback with defender Niall McParland ruled out of the Ulster SFC quarter-final against Fermanagh after suffering a broken hand in training.

The Mourne minor, who was poised to make his championship debut in tomorrow week's game at Brewster Park, was injured after blocking a ball.

McParland could return in time for a possible Ulster semi-final on June 24.

The Mourne team is already without experienced duo Benny Coulter and Dan Gordon because of injury.

Former All Star Coulter is recovering from a broken ankle, while Gordon misses out with an ankle injury.

Fermanagh will be without captain Ryan McCluskey after he sustained a sinus cavity fracture.

Irish Independent

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