JOEY BOLAND has begun his race against the clock to be fit for Dublin’s Leinster SHC opener with Offaly on May 29 after receiving the news that his shoulder injury suffered during Sunday’s league triumph over Kilkenny requires a four to six week rehabilitation.
The luckless Na Fianna man started at centre-back in his first match since breaking a metatarsal bone earlier in the league but fell awkwardly on his shoulder early in the second half of Sunday’s encounter and was stretchered from the pitch in visible distress.
A scan revealed no bone had been broken although the dislocation will keep him out of the forthcoming Evening Herald Dublin SHC and most likely, the preparations for the Offaly match.
Na Fianna meet Lucan Sarsfields in their ‘A’ championship round-robin opener tomorrow week and Boland will be forced to watch from the sidelines but there is an outside chance of making some appearance against the Faithful county.
Na Fianna are pooled with reigning champions, Ballyboden St Enda’s, Cuala, O’Toole’s, St Jude’s and Lucan Sarsfields.
His withdrawal on Sunday forced a rethink from Dublin’s management who elected to move Liam Rushe back to centre-back and switch Ryan O’Dwyer into midfield, with Maurice O’Brien coming on at centre-forward and scoring two points. Rushe played some of his underage career at centre-back and may be a live contender to take the number six jersey against Offaly if Boland does miss out.
His Na Fianna club-mate, Tomás Brady, was moved to centre-back in Boland’s absence for the draw with Kilkenny in Croke Park on April 2 while Peter Kelly slotted in for the final round victory over Cork although both O’Brien and Johnny McCaffrey could also come into consideration for the pivotal position.
The Dublin team began their championship preparations yesterday afternoon with a ‘recovery session’ on Portmarnock beach, less than 24 hours after securing a first Division 1 league title since 1939 as they build up to take on Joe Dooley’s Offaly team who suffered relegation from Division 1 last month.
Several other long-term injury concerns have returned to full competitive action recently. Alan McCrabbe, out since January 1, came off the bench against Cork and started last Sunday while David Treacy came on as a sub to score a point against Kilkenny.
– Conor McKeon
Article Source: herald.ie