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Masters is battling against the clock

By John Campbell

There are already contrasting fortunes for Kerry and Cork in the build-up to the Bank of Ireland All Ireland football final on tomorrow fortnight.

Kerry's bid to win back-to-back titles - something that has not been achieved since Cork were successful in 1989/90 - has been boosted with confirmation that the hip injury which midfield ace Dara O Sé picked up in last Sunday's semi-final win over Dublin has cleared up.

There were initial fears that O Sé would find himself in a battle to be fit for the decider.

However after the player had a scan, doctors told him that he only had a slight muscle strain and would be able to resume training within days.

Kerry's boost is in sharp contrast to the gloom that prevails in Cork in relation to the welfare of sharpshooter James Masters.

The player returned to training this week having missed the All Ireland semi-final win over Meath but is racing against the clock to shake off the effects of a broken jaw.

"Our medical advise is that it will be a four to six weeks recovery period for James, and it will be exactly six weeks between the Sligo game - when he sustained the injury - and the All-Ireland final," said a Cork spokesman.

"So that makes things very tight and obviously James would have to do plenty of training before the match against Kerry, because a player couldn't go in an All-Ireland final without proper preparation.

Even without Masters, Cork still managed to dish out a ten-point drubbing to Meath with Daniel Goulding, a replacement for Masters, proving one of their heroes.

Yet the finishing skills and ball-winning capacity of Masters would certainly prove assets against a Kingdom defence which held firm in the closing stages against Dublin.

Masters may start on the bench on September 16 but it is unlikely that he will sample action, particularly in what is certain to be a close-contact game throughout between two sides who have already met in the Munster final won by Kerry.

Belfast Telegraph


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