By DECLAN ROONEY
Dublin’s bid for three TG4 All-Ireland senior titles in a row has received a setback with former Irish soccer international Siobhan Killeen ruled out for six months because of injury, while three-time All-Ireland winner Sinead Finnegan is no longer part of the Dublin panel.
Both of last year’s TG4 All-Ireland senior finalists Cork and Dublin are struggling with key injuries ahead of this weekend’s All-Ireland stages with Cork’s Niamh Cotter and Dublin captain Sinead Aherne joining Killeen on the sidelines
Cork midfielder Cotter suffered a broken bone in her hand earlier this week, while Aherne only lasted eight minutes of Dublin’s successful Leinster final due to a ‘partial dislocation’ of her shoulder.
Experienced Finnegan is a big loss for Mick Bohan’s side, as she is 'on a sabbatical’, while the Dublin manager says Killeen’s attacking talents will be sorely missed.
“She [Killeen] has ripped the hamstring off the bone in a completely innocuous situation in training where she just turned a particular way. From start to finish it is a six month injury,” said Bohan.
“She is still in a brace but still around the squad and she has been fantastic and she has been a huge contributor in so many ways, particular with the kids. That’s one of the reasons why we kept her, we just felt she was so positive there.
“She was hitting the heights, and is definitely a loss to us. But they are the highs and lows of sports, it brings an opportunity for others though.”
Midfielder Cotter has been a revelation for Cork since she returned to the squad this year and even made the Lidl team of the league for her role in Cork’s run to the Division 1 title. But she will certainly sit out Cork’s first game against Cavan, although Cork’s captain Doireann O’Sullivan has returned to full training following her lengthy lay-off due it a back injury.
“Niamh broke a bone in her hand not that serious, but it will keep her out for a few weeks, maybe four or five weeks, possibly. She will certainly miss the first one, maybe the second game as well. But it could have been worse,” said Cork manger Ephie Fitzgerald.
“On the flip-side Doireann O’Sullivan is back in full-training. That has been a huge addition to us as well. Doireann is our leader. She is captain and she is the driving force, herself and Ciara (O’Sullivan) are really the driving force of the team. It is great to have her back.”
Meanwhile, Cork manager Fitzgerald has called for the LGFA and GAA to become affiliated in order to drive the ladies game on to the next level after another year of progress and improvement in the game.
While Fitzgerald appealed for more people to come out and support their county teams, he said it’s time for players to be awarded expenses for their efforts.
“I do think we just need that bit of support, and it goes back to that question should we be affiliated with the GAA. From the point of view of expenses for the players and the fact that we don’t get big crowds at matches, it’s not feasible to give girls expenses if the money isn’t there for it,” said Fitzgerald.
“But I do think the way forward for me would be an affiliation with the GAA and that the games will be played with ladies before men’s games. It gives you a fantastic day out, you have a crowd and everybody is happy.
“Our (Cork) county board are excellent in terms of what they can give us, but if we started drawing expenses for everybody, the kitty would dry up very quickly. None of us take expenses, I don’t take expenses and none of my management team.
“With the time and effort girls are putting in now is, nobody should be out of pocket for representing their county.”Tweet