Sugrue hails hero Stephen
Attride to sit out six weeks as Laois won't take any risk
Laois skipper John Attride is facing a minimum six-week lay-off from football, according to his manager.
John Sugrue last night paid tribute to his stricken skipper, who suffered two fractures to his skull, concussion and a major gash above his eye requiring 25 stitches, during Sunday's Leinster semi-final win over Carlow.
And he stressed they won't be taking any short-term risks with someone he hailed as a "proper footballer".
Once the injury happened, during stoppage-time, Laois were resigned to losing him for their June 24 showdown with Dublin - their first Leinster final in 11 years.
But even if Laois progress onto the 'Super 8s', it's highly unlikely that Attride will be fit to resume.
"If you take a significant concussion, the minimum is probably three weeks," said Sugrue at their Leinster final press night in Portlaoise. "If you take a bony injury to the skull, the minimum is probably four to six weeks. I'd say more likely six weeks.
"That's at a minimum. When you combine a couple of injuries together, and a very significant soft tissue injury over the eye as well ... there's no point taking risks with this fella.
"Laois need him in the future; there's no point in gambling short-term to lose long-term."
The consolation is that Attride's scenario, having being knocked out cold when his head accidentally collided with a Carlow leg, could conceivably have been even worse.
He was released from the Mater Hospital on Monday afternoon. "Stephen's sore," his manager outlined. "He's tired and he's got headaches and stuff like that - but he's good.
"He's at home and he's resting. In a grand sense he avoided significant damage. He's got two fractures in his skull, but nothing inside of that. Fairly serious soft tissue (damage) outside of it. Once it doesn't go inside the skull, everyone is happier to a great degree.
"It's not your average sporting injury, for sure. But the concussion will take time to settle down; the fractures in the skull will take time to settle down. But both of them should hopefully work out, once he's given the time. We'll get him back mingling with the group as soon as he feels ready himself."
A school teacher in Knockbeg, Attride has been widely acclaimed for the bravery shown in contesting the ball that led to his injury. But this was nothing new to Sugrue.
"He's a man's man and he's a square guy," he explained. "He doesn't baulk from hard work, he doesn't baulk from tough stuff, and he can mix playing a bit of ball as well.
"So he's definitely a loss. But that's sport ... you've just got to roll up your sleeves and move on. And we'll try and fill his shoes as best we can."
Laois have two vice-captains ready to step into the Leinster final breach - 'keeper Graham Brody and long-serving midfielder John O'Loughlin.
They have no other significant injury worries, although Daniel O'Reilly won't play again this season after suffering serious head injuries when assaulted in Carlow town on the weekend of Laois's Division 4 final triumph.
"Dicey's a great lad and a highly energetic fella and it's killing him at the moment, I would say," said Sugrue.
"But he's doing a little bit of running and a little bit of exercise, in a kind of guarded and control manner, but he can't play contact football for six months. So it's very unfortunate on Dicey."