Sport Hurling

Sunday 17 December 2017

Offaly play waiting game on veteran goalie Mullins

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

OFFALY hurlers may have to find a new goalkeeper, as Brian Mullins is still contemplating his future.

With the NHL just three weeks away, the veteran Birr netminder has not yet returned to county training and manager Joe Dooley is still awaiting his decision.

"I spoke to Brian a few weeks ago and he was still undecided," Dooley revealed. "We'd love to have him back and remain hopeful, but he is taking some time out to ponder his future and I understand that completely. I am not putting any pressure on him."

James Dempsey, last year's U-21 goalie, was between the sticks when the Faithful County knocked Kilkenny out of the Walsh Cup last weekend. A week earlier Eoin Kelly (Lusmagh) was in goal for Offaly's season opener.

Brendan Murphy will definitely miss next weekend's Walsh Cup semi-final clash with Galway as he is sidelined with a hamstring problem that could keep him out of the early rounds of the League.

Offaly will have a considerable influx of college talent back in their ranks next weekend, with Brian Carroll, Shane Dooley, Michael Verney and Dylan Hayden in the frame again following the University of Limerick's elimination from the Waterford Crystal. However, full-back David Kenny is 'club-tied', having played in the Walsh Cup for UCD.

But Diarmuid Horan, who has unusually played for both the county and DCU in two separate secondary competitions in Leinster, is eligible. Horan was the man whose final score got Offaly past DIT first day out in the Walsh Cup.

There has been speculation that the Walsh Cup semi-final would be part of a double-header with Offaly's opening NFL match, but it looks likelier that it will be a stand-alone fixture, in Tullamore, on Saturday.

Irish Independent

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