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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Connellan to make own fitness call - Cribbin

Westmeath’s Tom Cribbin.Picture Credit: Sportsfile
Westmeath’s Tom Cribbin.Picture Credit: Sportsfile

John Connellan is Westmeath's chief injury concern ahead of the Leinster SFC final - but manager Tom Cribbin will allow the player himself decide if he's right to face the Dubs, such is his importance to the cause.

The Athlone clubman has been suffering ankle trouble since coming off during the semi-final win over Kildare.

"He's 50-50, I'm hoping he'll be okay," the Westmeath boss explained at his county's Leinster final press night in Mullingar.

However, he allayed fears about the foot injury suffered by Connellan's younger brother, Ray, during the Kildare clash and expects him to be ready for Sunday week.

The towering wing-forward missed Westmeath's SFC opener against Offaly because of an Aussie Rules trial that has culminated in him signing a contract with St Kilda, but he's staying in Ireland for the remainder of the championship.

As for his elder sibling, Cribbin said he won't push Connellan over the next nine days "because he's not going to go back or forward in terms of fitness in this length of time.

"He just doesn't put up weight so it's all up there in his head. John is just incredible, he doesn't need to train even on the Friday night once he tells me he's okay.

"If he's not named in the programme then I can't pick him, so on Thursday morning before I put the team in, I'll call him ... and even if it's 50-50 at this stage I'll still put him in the programme, once there's a chance he'll play.

"He's a leader on the pitch as well - he stays composed, he always seems to say the right thing to the lads when they're under pressure, he's a very good guy to have on the pitch," concluded Cribbin.

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