Bailey's loss a big blow

Brendan Furlong

Published 08/09/2015 | 00:00

Injury victim Gavin Bailey awaits the dropping ball during the Leinster final victory over Kilkenny
Injury victim Gavin Bailey awaits the dropping ball during the Leinster final victory over Kilkenny

Wexford have lost a regular starter to a cruciate injury and a member of their extended squad to a broken finger for Saturday's Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland Under-21 hurling championship final clash with Limerick in Semple Stadium, Thurles (7 p.m.).

Midfielder Gavin Bailey from Ferns St. Aidan's also missed out on the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Antrim as a result of the knee injury received in a club game, while Joe Coleman's broken finger has ruled him out of action for a number of weeks.

It subsequently emerged that Bailey had also sustained a fractured bone in the knee. It was a case of the bone having to heal before the cruciate problem could be sorted out, with the player expected to be operated on within the coming weeks.

His absence will be a setback to Wexford, as he was looked upon as an all-action midfielder, always capable of winning the hard ball.

Hurling followers in the county now wish him a speedy and successful return from the injury which is expected to require an eight-month recuperation period.

Coleman has been a member of the extended squad but, following the injury, the St. Martin's clubman will miss out on any involvement in the final.

He will also prove a huge loss to his club who are expected to be without a number of key players for their Pettitt's Senior hurling championship quarter-final game with Shelmaliers.

'These are the only two players to miss out on the final. It's unfortunate for both players, having put in the year's work, to miss out on the big day,' said manager J.J. Doyle.

'It's very unlucky for the players with Gavin now out for up to eight months, while hopefully Joe will be back for his club shortly. But my heart goes out to them as they live for the game,' he added.

Wexford have no further injury concerns with the remainder of the squad having reported back fully fit from club activity and all are now clearly looking forward to the final.

Wexford will not announce their starting team until mid-week, but it is likely that Tony French will retain the place he filled in Bailey's absence for the semi-final.

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