County supremos sweating on key men
A quartet of senior county football bosses face an anxious wait now that the Ulster Under-21 Football Championship quarter-finals have been re-arranged for Saturday.
Both the Derry v Donegal tie which was due to take place at Healy Park, Omagh and the Cavan v Monaghan clash which was scheduled for Brewster Park, Enniskillen last night were ruled out because of snow-covered pitches.
The Ulster Council moved quickly to re-schedule the games for Saturday at the same venues but with all four counties facing vital National Football League games on Sunday week the respective team bosses will be keeping their fingers crossed that the players from their squads who are also involved in Under-21 action will come through unscathed.
Donegal boss Joe Joe Doherty is particularly anxious that his inspirational full-forward Michael Murphy, a pivotal figure in the U-21 side, will still be available to play a key role against Armagh in the Division Two promotion shoot-out.
Derry manager Damian Cassidy will be keeping a watching brief on James Kielt, who will skipper the Oak Leaf Under-21 side against Donegal, in the hope that he will emerge from the game with a clean bill of health in readiness for the vital Division One tie against Galway. Derry may be poised to make the drop into Division Two but Cassidy is anxious that his senior side should end their league campaign on an encouraging note.
“Obviously the fact that the Under-21 semi-finals have been re-fixed causes a little anxiety but we will have to see how things go,” says Cassidy.
Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney has four players from his senior squad— Colm Greenan, Colin Walsh, Dermot Malone and Kieran Hughes — due to line out against Cavan in the U-21 semi-final at Enniskillen and cannot afford to ship any injuries as his senior side is due to meet Kerry on Sunday week.
“While we are very keen to do well at Under-21 level we face a massive game against Kerry as our Division One place will be at stake,” explains McEnaney. Cavan boss Tommy Carr will have concerns for the welfare of midfielder David Givney. Givney will have a prominent role to play in the Under-21 semi-final and will also be in contention for a place in the National League Division Three clash with Fermanagh on Sunday week which could offer the Breffni side a chance to claim promotion depending on the outcome of other matches.