Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Armagh boss McDonnell faces injury woe

Armagh manager Peter McDonnell

Armagh manager Peter McDonnell will have to plan for Saturday night’s league game against Laois without almost half his squad.

It’s a game that will mark the opening of the Athletic Grounds, a welcome return of county football to Armagh city.

One minute it seemed Armagh were celebrating Wayne Henderson’s four goal spectacular against Wexford.

The next McDonnell found himself striving to put together a team to face Laois.

Already resigned to being without the Crossmaglen contingent, he now finds himself minus another six players through injury.

Both Brendan Donaghy and Kieran Toner will be absent as they struggle to recover from knee injuries while both Enda McNulty and Stevie McDonnell are still on the way back after injury.

Midfielder Toner has been told to rest for two months and hasn’t played since the McKenna Cup opener against Antrim in Davitt Park.

Donaghy, fast emerging as a quality defender, finds himself in a similar situation.

Midfielder Paul Courtney who showed up well playing for Queen’s in the McKenna Cup is struggling to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in the Sigerson Cup defeat at the hands of UUJ.

JP Donnelly is another absentee, but on the plus side the vastly experienced Aidan O’Rourke returns after suspension.

Andy Mallon is currently awaiting the result of a scan on the arm he has broken twice and his hopeful of an early return.

Meanwhile, GAA President Nickey Brennan has expressed concern that last weekend’s wipe-out of virtually the entire league programme could result in a massive fixtures pile-up.

Only six of the scheduled 17 hurling games went ahead.

“Games just couldn’t be played. It’s the last thing we wanted so early in the season, but we now have floodlit facilities and there’s no reason why we can’t maximise these in the weeks ahead,” he said.

Also wiped out at the weekend was the full MacRory Cup programme. Three of the quarter finals will now go ahead on Saturday while the St.Mary’s v St. Macartan’s game has been deferred.

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