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Friday 17 August 2018

O'Connor injury doubt

Star U-21 forward sits out club game with knee problem

Jake Firman of St. Martin’s tries to solo away from Ross Banville (Shelmaliers) in Sunday’s Pettitt’s SHC encounter in Innovate Wexford Park
Jake Firman of St. Martin’s tries to solo away from Ross Banville (Shelmaliers) in Sunday’s Pettitt’s SHC encounter in Innovate Wexford Park

Brendan Furlong

The Wexford Under-21 hurling management are waiting to determine the fitness of Rory O'Connor for Saturday week's All-Ireland championship semi-final clash with Cork in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny (4 p.m.).

Wexford dug deep when falling just short in their Leinster final defeat to Galway, losing out to an additional time goal, after extra-time, but the loss of O'Connor would prove a huge blow to their chances of reaching an All-Ireland final.

Having played such a huge part for both Senior and Under-21 hurling set-ups so far this season, O'Connor's loss would be immense, with growing concern given his knee problems of the past.

There is a real worry regarding his latest injury, with St. Martin's taking extra precautions, given that he is crucial to their chances of retaining the county title.

Having received the injury to what is regarded as his good knee while training with his club last week, the team management withdrew him from the side for their second round Pettitt's Senior hurling championship game against Shelmaliers over the weekend.

They came out on top in the game by 3-18 to 1-18, despite the absence of a number of key players.

Given their player contribution to all inter-county sides in both hurling and football, the number of players absent for a variety of reasons is posing a real problem for the club.

St. Martin's have five players in the Under-21 squad for Saturday week, but despite this they are being fixed for a third round Senior hurling championship game on the Bank Holiday Monday at 2 p.m., less than 48 hours following the Under-21 game.

In addition, they are also scheduled to play a third round Senior football championship game on the following Friday.

'With no balance to the fixtures, there's a growing concern among clubs,' St. Martin's Chairman, Michael Morrissey, said.

'It can prove devastating for the players, with the issue of player burn-out being ignored.

'We have no problem with the Friday fixture. We requested Friday as we have a big fundraiser in the club that weekend, but at the time we made the request we did not expect to be playing hurling on the Bank Holiday Monday.

'That's an issue as it's less than 48 hours after the Under-21 game.

'Things were bad with club fixtures up to this year, but it's now worse than ever.

'What would have happened had we beaten Clare, or what will happen if we qualify for the Under-21 final', he asked.

Meanwhile, there are no further reports of any fresh injury concerns following the weekend's club hurling championship games.

Oylegate-Glenbrien's Seamus Casey, forced to retire at a crucial stage of the provincial final defeat to Galway with a calf muscle problem, played a key role in his club's Pettitt's Senior hurling championship victory over Oulart-The Ballagh, scoring two late points, so he is expected to be fully fit for the Cork game.

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