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In brief: Crokes play down Cooper injury

Fears that Colm Cooper may have suffered damage to his cheekbone in a training ground collision have been played down by his club Dr Crokes, writes Colm Keys.

The Kerry forward did ship a blow last week to his face, just beneath the same eye that he needed surgery on after last year's league match against Monaghan, but tests have revealed that that there is no significant damage to Cooper, who will play for Crokes against Nemo Rangers in next week's deferred Munster club football final.

New blood for Banner

CLARE footballers will be boosted by an injection of new talent this season after getting the green light to recruit players using the GAA's parentage rule, writes Cliona Foley.

Two players from Kildare -- Niall Browne (Two Mile House) and Adrian Cahill (Celbridge) -- and David O'Connor from Dublin club St Brigid's, all of whom have parents from Clare, had already indicated that they would be interested in playing for the Banner.

However, Clare needed Central Council to allow them to join the group of designated 'weaker' counties, who are allowed strengthen up their weak resources by signing up players from outside the county.

"Central Council approved us for the parentage rule last weekend so once their own counties clear them to transfer we will be able to play them," said delighted Clare boss Micheal McDermott yesterday.

"This will definitely strengthen up our panel."

Kilmacud's crisis

Kilmacud Crokes are gearing up for their deferred Leinster club final without five of their established players.

Paul Griffin, Darren Magee and Mark Davoren are all long-term injuries and the failure by any of them to appear in last weekend's challenge match against the Kildare juniors effectively rules them out of participation against Rhode.

Rory O'Carroll, now based in France as part of his studies at UCD, and Niall Corkery, who has taken up employment in London, also didn't feature and the likelihood is they will have to be satisfied with a place on the bench.

Kilmacud may also be without Johnny Magee, their long-serving impact substitute, who picked up what is understood to have been a straight red card against Kildare juniors after a second-half incident.

Shield fixtures set

THE O'Byrne Shield semi-finals (Dublin v Offaly and Meath v Laois) will be played on Saturday night (7.0), to avoid a clash with the refixed Leinster club final on Sunday.

The postponed Ladies Football All-Ireland Junior Club final replay between Caltra Cuans and Omagh St Enda's will take place in Mullahoran on Sunday (2.0).

Irish Independent