Tuesday 12 December 2017

Westmeath blow as Heslin sidelined

Star carried fractured heel into Leinster final and will miss qualifier clash with Fermanagh

Westmeath's John Heslin is out of their fourth-round qualifier after fracturing a bone in his heel
Westmeath's John Heslin is out of their fourth-round qualifier after fracturing a bone in his heel
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

John Heslin is out of Westmeath's fourth-round qualifier against Fermanagh next week because of a fractured bone in his heel.

Scans in the wake of the county's Leinster final defeat to Dublin revealed the damage.

Heslin - one of the orchestrators of his county's first ever Championship defeat of Meath - was substituted in the latter stages of the decider after failing to make a real impact.

Manager Tom Cribbin revealed afterwards that he had bruising to the heel going into the game and had been bothered by it for eight to 10 days in the build-up. But it has emerged that he had a "bad fracture" according to Cribbin.

"He won't play for three to four weeks. He hasn't a prayer of playing against Fermanagh," said Cribbin yesterday.

Cribbin said Heslin did not put any pressure on the foot beforehand, and he suspected there might be more to it when it didn't respond sufficiently to treatment.

"You could see early enough in the game that he was limping. He was very sore with it. But we had to give him a chance with it," he said.

The former Laois and Offaly manager said there was evidence, even in some of the shots that he took, that he wasn't right.

"John is normally a player who leaves the ball dead with his shots but you could see the discomfort," he said.

Cribbin expects to have Callum McCormack and John Connellan fit again after they picked up knee and hamstring injuries on the day of the Dublin game.

Meanwhile, former All-Ireland final referee Marty Duffy is set to take charge of his first inter-county Championship game of the season after overcoming an injury.

Duffy has been out of action with a hamstring injury and had been struggling to make the rigorous fitness standards demanded of the inter-county refereeing pool.

But the Sligo official has since met those standards and is in line to take charge of the fourth-round qualifier game between Kildare and the losers of tomorrow night's Munster final replay between Kerry and Cork.

Duffy took charge of the 2009 All-Ireland final between Kerry and Cork and is among the most prominent referees in the game.

Inter-county referees have been facing even more stringent and regular fitness testing this season. They undertake what is known as the BangsBo test, something similar to a bleep test which is overseen by Professor Niall Moyna and his team in DCU. To make the national panel they must reach a mark of 16.8. Inter-county players will go to 19 and even 20 in the peak of their season.

Referees can cover over 10km in an inter-county match, reaching top speeds of over 20km per hour.

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