Saturday 18 January 2020

O'Donnell to spy on McDonagh Cup

Eoghan O’Donnell may be fit for Dublin’s preliminary quarter-final
Eoghan O’Donnell may be fit for Dublin’s preliminary quarter-final

Eoghan O'Donnell is planning to run the rule over Dublin's next opponents on Sunday - but he still doesn't know if he'll be fit to hurl against them the following weekend.

The Dublin full-back suffered a "small" hamstring tear in their thrilling Leinster SHC round-robin triumph over Galway earlier this month, placing a major question mark over his fitness for their All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final on July 6 or 7.

There, Mattie Kenny's men will face the winners of the Joe McDonagh Cup - and O'Donnell has every intention of taking in Sunday's Croke Park clash of Laois and Westmeath, ahead of the Kilkenny/Wexford Leinster final that Dublin narrowly failed to reach.

"Oh, I'll go into it," he revealed. "I'd say I'd be doing it anyway regardless, because Laois and Westmeath are two top teams and there's obviously a reason they're playing at this time of the year."

O'Donnell hasn't given up hope of playing the next day, with the winners then advancing to an All-Ireland quarter-final proper against the beaten Munster finalists a week later.

"I got a small tear in the Galway game, very early on," he explained at yesterday's launch of the AIG Cups and Shields in GUI Headquarters, Carton House.

"I went out for the first ball and felt some little niggle, and I was like 'Something's not right there.' Then I went out for the second ball and tore it.

"I knew I was gone but I was kind of in disbelief. I was 'Surely this isn't happening?' It's funny, you think of every equation that can come up in a game - you never think of coming off after 10-11-12 minutes, whatever it was. It never crossed my mind.

"But I'm working very closely with the physios and working hard. We still have a bit of time before the game, so there hasn't been a decision made either way."

The 23-year-old reckoned it could be late next week before that decision is finalised.

"I'd really have to train on the Thursday or Friday," he surmised. "But it takes the pressure off a small bit that we have such a great team - that (Shane) Barrett slotted in at full-back seamlessly (against Galway) and James Madden came on. So, we're not seeing it, if I'm out, that it's a loss as such . . . there's another cog in the wheel."

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