GAELIC GAMES: WATERFORD MANAGER Davy Fitzgerald has revealed he will be without 11 players who played championship hurling last year for Sunday’s National League Division One opener at home to Dublin.[ Irish Times Tuesday February 8]
A combination of injuries and club commitments has left Fitzgerald struggling for options ahead of the visit of former Clare team-mate Anthony Daly and his Dublin team.
Corner-back Eoin Murphy and veteran wing-back Tony Browne, hurler of the year in 1998, are not due back to training until next week after the pair were among a number of players handed extended breaks.
Full-back Liam Lawlor underwent knee surgery last week and has has been out for six weeks while Declan Prendergast won’t be back until April as he recovers from a hip operation.
Shane Walsh missed last Saturday’s Waterford Crystal Cup final victory over Cork with a rib injury and Fitzgerald said the forward is “highly unlikely to make it for Sunday.”
Brian O’Halloran is ruled out with a hamstring injury and while defender Aidan Kearney is due back to training this week, he won’t be considered for another three or four weeks.
“Eoin Kelly has just returned to training but he won’t be considered for another two weeks,” said Fitzgerald. “And we’re also missing John Mullane and Kevin Moran, who are club tied with De La Salle.”
Fitzgerald has also revealed experienced forward Eoin McGrath requires surgery on the ankle ligament injury he picked up against Clare in the recent Waterford Crystal Cup semi-final. McGrath is due for surgery this week and looks set to miss the vast majority of the league campaign.
“To win the Waterford Crystal Cup without those players was fantastic,” said Fitzgerald. “There are four trophies that we can win and that’s one of them so to come out on top is good.
“But we’re down 11 players for the visit of Dublin and all of those guys played in last year’s championship. We’re coming up against a very good Dublin team, who are boosted by the return of Conal Keaney from the footballers.
“They have some great players in fairness and serious forwards like Peadar Carton, David O’Callaghan and Liam Rushe. We’ll be up against it but I have great faith in our young panel.
“While the numbers are down, we’ll be giving it a blast but people need to be patient with our young players.”