DUBLIN defender Mick Fitzsimons is hoping to feature at some stage during this year's Allianz Football League as he continues his rehab from hip surgery.
The All-Ireland winning corner-back hasn't played at all during the O'Byrne Cup, but manager Jim Gavin confirmed after yesterday's semi-final win that his absence has been down to injury.
"He had a hip operation before Christmas, so he's back training with us at the moment," Gavin outlined.
He hopes the Cuala defender and Alan Brogan, following recent groin surgery, will be fit for the latter stages of the league whereas Eoghan O'Gara, who has also had a hip op, will be out for longer. However, he too is expected to be back for the championship.
"Alan will feature in the back end of the spring. Michael Fitzsimons likewise. We had Kevin Nolan on the bench today who's fit to play, so guys are slowly beginning to come back. Eoghan O'Gara is probably the longer term, he'll take a bit more time, but again he'll be fit by championship," the Dublin boss revealed.
Brogan's injury dates back to last year's Leinster final against Meath and was eventually diagnosed as osteitis pubis. Asked if the 2011 Footballer of the Year should be fully fit for the latter league rounds, Gavin replied: "We'll see how he progresses. There's no particular time frame on it, but at the moment that's the milestone he has."
JAMES O'DONOGHUE bagged 2-5 to propel Kerry into the McGrath Cup final following a 3-17 to 1-11 win over Limerick. They now face Tipperary who squeezed past Waterford (1-12 to 2-8) after extra-time.
KEVIN WALSH hailed Sligo's resilience after the Yeats men recovered from a rocky start to overcome his native Galway and advance to Connacht's FBD League final. Trailing 1-2 to 0-1 following a Danny Cummins goal, Sligo battled back to win by 0-9 to 1-4 in Enniscrone. Also through to the final are Leitrim, who maintained their 100pc start to the season despite a less than impressive 0-10 to 1-6 win over GMIT.
TYRONE advanced to the McKenna Cup final thanks to a "flattering" 2-9 to 0-7 victory over Fermanagh, the goals coming from Plunkett Kane and Mark Donnelly, but manager Mickey Harte wasn't impressed by "as poor (a performance) as I have witnessed in a long time". They now tackle Monaghan who staged a smash-and-grab comeback to beat Down by 1-12 to 0-13.