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Thursday 21 September 2017

Louth give youth a fling for Royal duel

LOUTH manager Peter Fitzpatrick is banking on youth to topple their Meath nemesis when the two arch-rivals clash in Sunday's Bord na Móna O'Byrne Cup quarter-final at Navan.

Fitzpatrick has handed senior debuts to five players -- goalkeeper Dwayne Crosby (St Mary's), David Collier (St Fechin's), Cathal Bellew (Kilkerley Emmets), Eoin O'Connor (St Patrick's) and Ronan Holcroft (St Fechin's).

Some of the tension surrounding this rematch of the infamous 2010 Leinster final may have been dissipated by last year's qualifier meeting, but Louth ace Paddy Keenan admitted: "If there is any team or any game to get us focused, it's the Meath game. We would like to start off on a good note."

Meanwhile, the developing saga surrounding Eoin Kelly's omission from the Waterford hurling squad has taken another twist.

New Déise boss Michael Ryan has thrown the ball firmly back into Kelly's court, insisting the former All Star's career is "far from over" if he can get back to the fitness levels demanded.

For the moment, however, there is no sign of a speedy recall while the Waterford manager steadfastly refused to comment on reports suggesting that he has held a clear-the-air meeting with Kelly.

"I spoke on this last Monday and I have no further comment to make on it. I didn't see it (the story) and I have no comment to make on it," said Ryan, speaking at the announcement of Waterford's renewed sponsorship deal with phone company 3.

"What I said last Monday was, and this is absolutely true, there was an opportunity for Eoin, as there was for every other hurler in Waterford, to get on the panel - and he was to go away and work on his fitness and we'd look at the situation again."

CORK hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy won't make a decision on the playing future of Seán óg ó hAilpín until shortly before the start of the NHL next month. "Seán óg is the same as every player we have on the training panel at the moment."

LOUTH (SF v Meath): D Crosby; D Finnegan, D Collier, J Carr; R Finnegan, D Byrne, L Shevlin; P Keenan, B Donnelly; C Bellew, D Crilly, E O'Connor; D Maguire, A McDonnell, R Holdcroft.

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