herald

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Kelly to return for the O'Byrne Cup

Lilies' former All Star poised for comeback from cruciate

KILDARE expect All Star defender Peter Kelly to make his return from the cruciate injury which ruined his 2011 in this year's O'Byrne Cup.

The Two Mile House man made a storming start to inter-county life after being promoted from the Lilywhites' juniors straight into Kieran McGeeney's starting team during the 2010 championship and was honoured with an All Star for his impressive performances over the course of that summer.

However, he became the latest in an unfortunate string of Kildare players to be struck down by the dreaded cruciate injury last January, thus ruling him out for the entire season.

Now, however, he is on the brink of a return to the county colours along with fellow cruciate victim, Ken Donnelly. Both Mikey Conway and Rob Kelly completed their comebacks from the injury at the back end of last year while Dermot Earley and Hugh Lynch are back in light training en route to full recoveries.

"We expect Peter to feature in the O'Byrne Cup," confirmed Kildare selector Niall Carew. "He is back in full training so there is no reason why he shouldn't.

"We're hoping to see Hugh at some point in the league and the same goes for Dermot," Carew added.

Carew explained that a cluster of the Athy team which stormed to last year's county title were now part of the Kildare under-21 set-up currently training with the seniors and that several could expect to see senior action between now and the start of the championship.

He added that there had been no 'outside' additions to McGeeney's squad over the winter, despite a raft of speculation linking several different players with moves to Kildare.

Cavan's Seánie Johnston, was linked with a move after he was informed by Breffni County management that he was part of their plans while Offaly attacker Niall McNamee was the subject of similar speculation.

"They're not with us yet anyhow," Carew confirmed. "Obviously, any team would be interested in players of that sort of calibre but nothing has happened yet anyway."

LOUTH manager Peter Fitzpatrick will welcome Armagh forward Johnny Murtagh to his ranks if the Parnell's man can prove his eligibility.

The former Crossmaglen Rangers clubman recently revealed to The Evening Herald that he was on the brink of leaving the Armagh panel following his move to the Coolock club and was eager to link up with Louth, the native county of his father.

"There's a good chance (of the move) at the moment," revealed Fitzpatrick, whose Louth side were spared their first outing of the year this Sunday when Kilkenny withdrew from the O'Byrne Cup.

"His family is from Louth. I'll meet him this week and if the fella wants to come and play for Louth, we'd be delighted to have him.

"We went to America last year and he (Murtagh) played for New York. He's a fantastic footballer and he scored three points playing for the Dubs Stars on the forty. You can't be a bad footballer with that strike rate."

WEXFORD (SF v Meath): T Hughes; N Murphy, F Lancaster, S Culleton; L Chin, G Molloy, A Doyle; D Waters, A Shore; E Bradley, B Brosnan, PJ Banville; P Byrne, K O'Grady, K Rowe.

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