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Derry rage as Michael Bateson is forced out

By John Campbell

Derry officials have condemned what they feel was “a late hit” on centre-half-back Michael Bateson in last weekend’s National Football League Division Two game against Monaghan at Celtic Park.

Newbridge clubman Bateson had been outstanding up until the incident in the 50th minute and had scored two points from play to help underpin a first victory in the competition.

But now he could miss today's all-important tie against Kildare at Newbridge and this would represent a further setback to manager John Brennan who has been forced to grapple with a litany of injury worries since the start of the year.

Bateson was replaced by Glasgow-based dentist Charlie Kielt and is awaiting the results of a scan which will confirm the full extent of his injury — an injury which has occasioned particular disappointment within Derry.

“I have no doubt that it was a late hit by the Monaghan player Dick Clerkin which felled Michael. I would have thought that this should have resulted in a yellow card at least but no punitive action was taken which was surprising in the circumstances,” insists county PRO Chris McCann.

“You expect to pick up injuries over the course of any competition but this particular incident left a distinctly sour taste in the mouth from a Derry perspective.”

Kielt looks certain to get a starting berth against Kieran McGeeey’s revitalised Kildare should Bateson be ruled out.

Dermot McBride, Eoin Bradley and Enda Muldoon are still among the Oak Leaf absentees but manager John Brennan derived encouragement from the performance of former skipper Barry McGoldrick in his half-forward line who was back in action against Monaghan following a hip injury.

Meanwhile, Monaghan manager Eamon McEnaney has been handed an unexpected boost for Sunday’s game against Louth now that the Disputes Resolution Authority has overruled the Central Hearings Committee decision that the Farney side should forfeit home advantage for the game.

The Hearings Committee had endorsed the earlier decision by the Central Competitions Control Committee that the game should instead take place at Louth’s home ground in Drogheda following the fracas which marred the Monaghan v Kildare match.

But Monaghan’s appeal to the DRA proved successful meaning that McEnaney’s team now stand a better chance of getting back on the rails following last weekend’s defeat by Derry.

Monaghan need a win over Louth if they are to stay in the promotion hunt and Tommy Freeman and Paul Finlay will be relied upon to get the scores.

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