Deise boost as Connors and Kelly fit to face Banner
WATERFORD hurling manager Michael Ryan has been handed a double boost with the news that both Eoin Kelly and Noel Connors are fit for Sunday's Munster SHC semi-final clash with Clare.
Kelly (hand) and Connors (back) had been struggling with injury, but they have been declared fit as Waterford face the Banner, who are now under the guidance of their former manager Davy Fitzgerald.
Stephen Molumphy is also available, despite recently picking up a shoulder injury.
"Noel Connors and Eoin Kelly will definitely be available for the Clare game," said Ryan, whose charges avoided relegation to Division 1B by coming up trumps in their last two league ties against Galway and Dublin.
"Noel had to get treatment for a bulging disc in his back, but he's back in full training with us and he's making good progress.
"A second X-ray showed that Eoin hadn't fractured his thumb, and he underlined his fitness by scoring 2-6 (2-4 from play) in a recent club game."
Ryan will have to plan without Pauric Mahony after a groin operation, while Shane O'Sullivan and David O'Sullivan have decided to spend the summer in the United States.
Offaly hurling boss Ollie Baker has named an unchanged side for their Leinster semi-final clash with Galway in Tullamore on Sunday.
Baker has stuck with the same side that gave the Faithful county their first win over Wexford since 2000 a fortnight ago. David Kenny captains the side from full-back, with Shane Dooley expected to provide the bulk of the scores once more.
Meanwhile, Offaly football boss Tom Coffey has four debutants in his side for Sunday's Leinster SFC quarter-final at O'Moore Park.
John Moloney, at full-back, Michael Brazil, at centre half-back, Eoin Rigney, at left half-back, and Daniel Currams, at centre half-forward, will all line out for Offaly for the first time.
Alan McNamee returns to championship starting 15 to partner Richie Dalton at midfield as fellow Rhode man Brian Darby captains the side.
Meanwhile, Galway football captain Finian Hanley is likely to find out today if he will be available for the All-Ireland qualifiers next month.
Hanley was forced off in the second-half of his side's surprise Connacht semi-final loss to Sligo on Saturday night, but manager Alan Mulholland is hopeful that his full-back is not as seriously injured as initially thought.
OFFALY (SH v Galway) -- J Dempsey; D Morkan, D Kenny, D Franks; D Horan, R Hanniffy, J Rigney; C Mahon, K Brady; J Bergin, C Egan, B Murphy; S Dooley, C Parlon, B Carroll.
OFFALY (SF v Kildare) -- A Mulhall; S Sullivan, J Moloney, S Pender; B Darby, M Brazil, E Rigney; A Mc Namee, R Dalton; R Brady, D Currams, N Smith; K Casey, G Guilfoyle, A Sullivan.