Tuesday 20 February 2018

Gooch staring at spell on the sidelines as eye damage takes its toll

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Colm Cooper will have surgery in Dublin this morning on a serious eye injury sustained in Sunday's NFL Division 1 win over Monaghan.

Cooper had an assessment last night on a torn duct in one of his eyes after doctors in Kerry expressed concern about his condition. The former Footballer of the Year collided with Monaghan defender Darren Hughes after only seven minutes and required treatment on and off the field.

He did not return but Kerry manager Jack O'Connor was afterwards confident that he would be fine. Cooper himself is satisfied that the injury was sustained accidentally but he will also require stitching on his eyelid.

The injury is expected to lay him up for a number of weeks and could yet threaten his participation in Kerry's opening championship match against Tipperary on May 23.

Meanwhile, the GAA have fixed the hurling league final between Cork and Galway for an evening throw-in on Sunday May 2 to avoid a clash with Munster's Heineken Cup semi-final against Biarritz in San Sebastian.

The final will start in Thurles at 7.0 and will be preceded by the Division 2 final, the pairing for which has yet to be decided, at 5.0.

The Munster match kicks off in Spain at 3.15 Irish time. The thinking behind the fixing of the league final is it gives supporters who want to watch the match a chance to get to Thurles in time.

But it will also provoke ire in some quarters that the GAA are conceding ground and should allow a national hurling final to retain a prime time Sunday afternoon slot.

The option of switching the league final to the Bank Holiday Monday was also explored but that may now be the date for the All-Ireland U-21 final.

In 2006, the GAA put back the time of the Kerry/Galway NFL final in the Gaelic Grounds to avoid a clash with the Munster/Leinster Heineken Cup semi-final in Lansdowne Road but the crowd in Limerick was still small.

Irish Independent

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