Longford blow as star man Quinn to miss start of league
The Longford footballers have been dealt a blow with the news that star man Michael Quinn is set to miss the early part of the season through injury.
Quinn fractured an ankle while on club duty with Emmet Og, Killoe in August and required an operation, meaning he won't see action until March at the earliest.
Longford will operate in Division 3 of the league this year and begin their campaign with the visit of Offaly on February 5. They start their Leinster championship campaign away to Laois on May 21.
Elsewhere, Kerry could be set to lose more talent to the AFL after it was confirmed that double All-Ireland minor winner David Shaw is to attend an AFL camp in Florida for assessment.
And another talented youngster from the Kingdom, Stefan Okunbor, could be set to follow him to the ten-day programme.
The Kingdom have won the last three All-Ireland minor titles as well as three Hogan Cups on the bounce, meaning they are catching the eye of AFL teams looking to recruit talented youngsters from these shores.
Mark O'Connor has already signed with Geelong and speculation is also mounting that David Clifford, who was the standout performer in the minor championship in 2016 and is eligible for the grade again this year, might be next on the list.
Senior manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice described the situation as "not ideal".
"Look it's not ideal, you want the lads to stay around," he said. "You don't want your best players being taken.
"But we have to look at it from our own point of view and how we make it that the lads don't want to go, that they want to stay around and they want to play for Kerry and that is the number one ambition.
"But look with the lure of a professional lifestyle it's hard for young fellas maybe to turn down the chance of going there."
There was mixed news for the Fermanagh footballers as they unveiled their McKenna Cup squad.
Star forward Sean Quigley isn't included as he continues to recover from recent groin surgery but Ryan McCluskey will play after missing all of the 2016 campaign through injury.
Pete McGrath is confident his side have never been better placed to win their first Ulster title.
"I feel we have got the players and we are now gathering the experience and know-how to put ourselves as very serious challengers for Ulster in 2017," said McGrath.
"There are many teams who have legitimate claims to say we could win Ulster, and Fermanagh are one of those."
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