Louth lose key duo for Championship
Louth's Championship prospects have been dealt a blow with the loss of two key players.
Andy McDonnell underwent a cartilage operation last week and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks. That will force him to miss Louth's opening Championship match against Wicklow in just under three weeks' time and, if they win, a quarter-final against Meath.
Derek Maguire is gone for the entire Championship campaign having decided in recent weeks to relocate to the US.
McDonnell picked up the knee injury during UCD's Sigerson Cup final defeat to St Mary's College at the end of February. After a period of rest he resumed playing and featured in Louth's win over Tipperary and the Division 3 final defeat to the same opponents.
But after further investigation it was decided to operate. His loss is significant, given his form at midfield in the Allianz League.
Meanwhile, Meath have welcomed back Mickey Newman after a long absence. Newman played in a challenge match against Down on his home Kilmainham pitch and chipped in with 1-4.
Clare hurlers have been lifted by the return to action of three players who missed all or part of their Division 1A League campaign.
Conor McGrath and captain Pat O'Connor, who both had shoulder operations late last year which ruled them out of the entire campaign, and Shane O'Donnell, who picked up a knee injury in the early part of the competition, all played a recent challenge match against Cork. All three have also been involved in club league games over the past two weeks.
Clare are returning to full strength with just Darach Honan out on a long-term basis.