PETER FITZPATRICK has called on Louth GAA chiefs to rearrange club fixtures after he was forced to cancel training this week.
The Louth boss has lost four more players to emigration since their Leinster SFC exit to Dublin, bringing to 11 the number of players who have left the country since January, while a raft of injuries have left 14 of his squad spending time on the treatment table.
It meant just four members of his squad were available to train for Monday night’s aborted session, after which Fitzpatrick met the county board on Tuesday night to outline the severity of the problem he’s facing ahead of Louth’s entry into the qualifiers later this month. He has since submitted a request to the Louth CCC, asking them to rearrange club fixtures.
“Either we get the leeway we need and we’ll be given some time to prepare for the back door or we’ll just fulfil the fixture with almost no preparation at all,” Fitzpatrick warned.
“I’m not going to flog these players. They are down to play another couple of games with their clubs before the qualifiers. It’s a heavy schedule and that’s why you have so many players carrying knocks. Only four of them could train on Monday night. There is no point.
“I cancelled challenge games against Cavan and Laois, too. I have never seen anything like the injuries we have, and these lads need rest,” he added.
The scourge of emigration has recently robbed Louth of four more players - Darragh Maguire, Andy McDonnell, Liam Shevlin and Michael Rogers.
Meanwhile, on the hurling front, Galway fans will be relieved to see Joe Canning back from his latest shoulder injury and named at full-forward for Sunday’s Leinster SHC semi-final against Offaly. The former All Star replaces Davy Glennon.
Goalkeeper James Skehill, out with a shoulder injury since March, also returns while Joseph Cooney replaces Paul Gordon at wing-back.
The evergreen Tony Browne is not included in Waterford’s starting side for Sunday’s Munster SHC semi-final clash with Clare - but there is a wing-forward recall another former All Star, Eoin Kelly. Manager Michael Ryan’s selection features four championship debutants - goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe, defenders Stephen Daniels and Philip Mahony and corner-forward Gavin O’Brien.
WATERFORD (SH v Clare): S O’Keeffe; A Kearney, L Lawlor, S Daniels; R Foley, M Walsh, P Mahony; K Moran, S Molumphy; M Shanahan, S Prendergast, E Kelly; J Mullane, S Walsh, G O’Brien.
GALWAY (SH v Offaly): J Skehill; N Donohue, K Hynes, F Moore; J Cooney, T Óg Regan, J Coen; I Tannian, A Smith; D Burke, N Burke, C Donnellan; D Hayes, J Canning, C Cooney.