Injuries mount for McGeeney’s men

It’s been a tough year on the injury front for Armagh, and we’re only two games in to the 2021 season!

Aidan Nugent and Cathair McGeary are still recovering from cruciate injuries picked up last year while Stephen Sheridan (jaw) and Ethan Rafferty (knee) have sustained serious knocks in the last few weeks.

Mark Shields has recently gone under the knife, as has Killeavy man Caolan McConville.

On Saturday evening, Ryan Kennedy, Aidan Forker and James Morgan all hobbled off prior to the halfway mark while first half sub Paddy Burns was also forced to exit early.

It’s hoped that Morgan, Conor O’Neill and Niall Rowland will be available for selection and ease Kieran McGeeney’s defensive dilemma.

It’s a major concern for the Armagh boss and his management team as they begin preparations for Donegal this weekend.

The 2002 All-Ireland winning captain was disappointed to lose such quality defenders, and the likelihood is they won’t be fit in time for the Donegal clash.

“We lost five players all through injuries, that’s a big loss for us. It’s very unlikely that they’ll be back available for next week.

They were all very innocuous things, ankle tears and all that sort of stuff. Very disappointing that the performance came at a high cost”, he told The Sideline Eye Podcast after Armagh’s five point defeat to Tyrone.

“It wasn’t a dirty game, they weren’t bad tackles, they were just very innocuous things that happened so very disappointing that way, but you just have to regroup and go back at it.

If you had of got the points and secured your Division One (status), that would have been brilliant. Even though you’re going to be struggling for the rest of the year possibly it still could be worth it, but that’s the way it goes”.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Aaron Kernan also reflected on Armagh’s injury crisis in his review of the game and insisted that the players have to “park the injuries”.

“If I’m a player involved in that squad, you have park the injuries. They’re done, they’re injured, those boys are injured, they’re not going to be playing.

We’re going to have 15 Armagh men playing this week, that’s a given. It’s up to them to go out and deliver and do their role”, the Crossmaglen man explained.

“Injuries, far from ideal but it can’t be an excuse. We have time to prepare for it, that’s what squads are for.

Obviously yes there are some key men with them, the likes of Aidan in particular, who has probably been our main player for the last two or three years.

One mans loss is another man’s gain, so we have to get out heads around that and park it straight away”.