Saturday 25 January 2020

Meath woe as Ward ruled out for Leinster assault

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Joe Sheridan's return for Meath has been offset somewhat by the news that the Royals will be without towering midfielder Mark Ward for the whole of the Leinster championship.

Ward is to to have surgery on torn ankle ligaments and that is likely to rule him out for between two to three months, a period that will incorporate Meath's provincial championship campaign.

The blow is further compounded by the continued absence of Shane O'Rourke, who is recovering from hip surgery.

O'Rourke was Meath's main midfielder in last year's three- match qualifier run, but has not played for the county since the qualifier defeat to Kildare. He is due to return to his surgeon this week for a progress update.

Sheridan is due back in Ireland in the next 24 hours, less than seven weeks after what was described as a 'lifestyle choice' as he emigrated to Boston.

Sheridan will not be able to play for his club Seneschalstown as he remains tied to the North American Board until his transfer expires at the end of the required 60-day period. Seneschalstown have a bye in this weekend's round of championship activity.

Peadar Byrne, who was omitted from the squad at the beginning of the season, is also expected back in training in the coming week. Byrne has a wealth of experience dating back to 2005, but hasn't played since the victory in the first-round qualifier over Louth last June.

Meanwhile, Kildare are confident that Daryl Flynn will be fit to face Tyrone in Sunday's Division 2 league final after sustaining a knock on the recent warm-weather training camp in Portugal.

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Flynn showed no adverse effects from the knock and is expected to feature at midfield as Kildare bid for a first win over Tyrone in five attempts during Kieran McGeeney's reign as manager.

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