Wednesday 16 January 2019

Fitzpatrick latest Lilywhite defender hit by injury hex

CIARáN FITZPATRICK has become the latest Kildare defender to be struck by injury on the cusp of the Allianz League.

Fitzpatrick fractured a bone in his hand during last Sunday's O'Byrne Cup final victory over Louth. The Kilcock clubman finished the game and only discovered the extent of the damage afterwards, but he's now likely to be sidelined for around four weeks.

Kieran McGeeney's squad has been cursed by cruciate injuries over the past 18 months, but now this particular Lilywhite hex has mutated into the "curse of the corner-backs".

Over the past few weeks, 'Geezer' has lost three such options to injury, causing selector Niall Carew to describe the situation as "unreal".

All Star corner-back Peter Kelly was the first and most serious of their recent casualties -- he tore his cruciate ligament playing for UCD in the O'Byrne Cup and is set to miss most if not all of the season. Ollie Lyons then suffered a partial shoulder dislocation playing for Kildare against DCU in the same competition, although Carew expects the Celbridge man to be back in another two weeks.

On-going groin injury victims, Morgan O'Flaherty and Andriu Mac Lochlainn, are still out of action.

More positively, James Kavanagh rejoins the squad this week after Ballymore's quest for All-Ireland IFC glory ended in semi-final defeat last weekend.

However, he's unlikely to come straight into the team for Sunday's Division Two trip to Casement Park, where Antrim await.

Lilywhite sharp-shooter Johnny Doyle has been confirmed as the Kildare captain for the upcoming season. Doyle, who captained Kieran McGeeney's side last season, is expected to return to inter-county action action this Sunday against Antrim after sitting out their successful O'Byrne Cup campaign. Eamonn Callaghan has been named as vice-captain.

COLáISTE EOIN will face Moate in the quarter-finals of the Leinster Colleges SFC following their 1-9 to 0-5 victory over St Joseph's of Rochfortbridge yesterday with Daithi Ó Cathmhaoil grabbing the only goal of the game.

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