independent

Saturday 16 December 2017

Murphy and Reck out

Senior hurlers drawn away to Laois Sunday week

Brendan Furlong

Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy
Damien Reck

The gloss has been taken off Davy Fitzgerald's training camp in Portugal this week as an injury crisis has hit the camp ahead of their championship opener with Laois in Portlaoise on Sunday, May 28, at 2 p.m.

Earlier last week, utility player Shaun Murphy was ruled out of the quarter-final against the round-robin table-toppers, having received a chest injury when his club, reigning county champions Oulart-The Ballagh, lost their first round championship game to St. Martin's in Bellefield.

Murphy will be out of contention for up to four weeks but should be available for what is hoped to be a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Kilkenny on June 9 in Innovate Wexford Park. It's expected that the stress fracture to a bone in his chest will have healed in time.

However, in a further blow to Fitzgerald, the real find of the league campaign, Damien Reck, is now ruled out of both the quarter-final and the potential semi-final game with Kilkenny.

Reck, who will sit his Leaving Certificate next month in St. Mary's C.B.S. (Enniscorthy), only decided to join the training camp earlier in the week, following the injury to Murphy.

However, in a training session on Tuesday evening in Clare prior to their departure, Reck went over on an ankle. Following x-rays at the Santry Sports Clinic, the Oylegate-Glenbrien star has been diagnosed with a double ligament injury, with one ligament partially severed.

Reck has been told he will be out of the game for eight to nine weeks. While he was prepared to take in the quarter-final game, it's believed that he would have been unavailable for the semi-final one way or the other, should Wexford qualify, owing to his exams.

The Oylegate-Glenbrien clubman returns to Santry Clinic today (Tuesday) for a further update on his injury, but could face an operation to help speed up his recovery.

The hoped-for game against Kilkenny would come four days into the Leaving Certificate.

It's believed that Reck was being earmarked to take up the sweeper's role vacated by the injured Murphy.

This now leaves manager Fitzgerald in something of a dilemma, with Diarmuid O'Keeffe now looking the most obvious choice for the Laois game.

There was a further scare during the sun training when goalkeeper Mark Fanning received a hand injury. The blow necessitated five stitches but he will be fit to take the number one jersey against Laois.

The midlanders maintained their one hundred per cent round robin record on Sunday with a 2-21 to 3-15 victory over Kerry in Tralee.

Meanwhile, Westmeath scraped through on scoring difference courtesy of a hard-earned 1-18 to 0-19 home win over a Meath side now relegated back to the Christy Ring Cup after just one year.

The quarter-final draw was made immediately after that game in Mullingar, with Wexford paired with Laois while Westmeath will take on Offaly on home soil once more on Saturday week.

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