Graham Geraghty made a second half substitute appearance as Meath easily overcame Louth by a score of 0-11 to 0-5 in the O’Byrne Cup clash at Navan on Sunday.
The 38-year-old, who doubles as a selector, was welcomed back by loud applause from the Royal faithful and believes he can offer manager Seamus McEnaney something a little bit different as a player this season.
“I’m going to be training with the lads and doing the work they’re doing so I can’t see why I can’t get up to the level they’re at,” said Geraghty.
“If any lads aren’t inter-county match fit then they’re not going to be playing. I have to get myself up to that level and get myself in contention.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t start if I’m putting in the work. There are 30 lads there all doing the same thing, doing the same work, trying to get in as well and that’s a good thing.”
McEnaney warned Geraghty that he will have to work very hard to remain in contention for live football this coming summer.
“He’s working hard and he’s going to have to work hard if he wants to stay in the 20,” said the Meath boss. “We revolve always around 20, it’s a 20-man game and he’s going to have to bully out someone or the four fellas coming back this week.”
Dublin vs. Kildare
DUBLIN’S O’Byrne Cup semifinal will go ahead with Kildare in Newbridge on Sunday after the Leinster Council deemed the 6,700 capacity St. Conleth’s Park big enough to host the fixture.
Kildare booked their place in the semis with a 13 point win over Offaly on Sunday and a performance described by manager Kieran McGeeney as “decent.”
McGeeney told RTE Sport, “It was a decent performance, particularly in the first half. We fell away a wee bit after the break when our structure fell apart, but it’s the second game of the year and I felt we did okay.
“At different stages today, we showed real purpose, though I thought we should have put a lot more scores on the board. It’s an aspect of the game we will always look to improve on.
“Every game is beneficial. For some guys it was their first game of the season. You can only play what’s in front of you; we got a run on Offaly today. I can assure you that won’t happen when we meet again.”
KERRY boss Jack O’Connor has received good news on the double after Tomas O Se committed himself to the county team for a 15th, season and captain Colm Cooper declared he is over the ankle injury that threatened his NFL participation.
“The ankle is fine. I’ve had a month to six weeks now without any problems with it,” Cooper told the Irish Examiner.
“The medical teams have been taking a look at it regularly enough and saw it again last week. They’re quite pleased with it.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any need to get an operation to sort it out which is very good as we’ve a lot of games coming up. I just had problems with the ankle in the middle of last summer when I picked up a knock on it.
“But it started to settle down then for me during the Munster club championship and I was able to get through those games okay. Since we beat UCC in the final in December, it’s felt very good.”
DUBLIN boss Pat Gilroy has confirmed that the Brogan brothers – Alan and Bernard – will miss the glamorous NFL opener against Kerry at Croke Park next month.
Alan is out for four weeks after aggravating a knee injury, while Bernard is off to Australia for an extended holiday.
Midfielder Barry Cahill and defender Kevin Nolan will also miss the Kerry game through injury.
Dublin continued their early season form with an easy O’Byrne Cup quarterfinal win over UCD on Saturday night which pleased Gilroy.
“We conceded a bit too much but at the end of the day, after the work we’ve put in over the last two weeks, we’d be happy enough with it,” said Gilroy.
“You’d love to have everyone back and available but there’s no point rushing fellas back from injuries either. We’re really still just getting back into it. Our shooting and our handling, as you’d expect with the work we’re doing, could be better. But the effort and the application were great.”
Sean Og Question
CORK hurling boss Jimmy Barry Murphy has yet to make a final decision on veteran Sean Og O hAilpin’s chances of remaining in his squad for the 2012 league and championship season.
Barry Murphy recalled the former all-star as soon as he got the job but won’t finalize his plans for the rest of the season until after the Waterford Crystal Cup competition.
“In this regard, Sean Og is the same as every player we have on the training panel at the moment and it is up to the players to make strong cases for themselves in matches and in training over the next few weeks,” the manager told The Irish Times.
“We play either Kerry or Tralee IT in the first round of the Waterford Crystal on the 5th of February, and hopefully we’ll get a few matches in the competition before we play our first league game against Waterford three weeks later.”
NEW Fermanagh boss Peter Canavan believes his side can continue to improve after a second successive Dr. McKenna Cup after a nine point win over Queen’s University on Sunday.
“This latest result is satisfactory in that we’re playing at home here and the supporters are going home happy because they have seen their team win,” said Canavan.
“But it is only the second or third Sunday in January and fitness levels definitely are not what they should be. At times the pace of the game was somewhat slow.
“We have plenty to work at. There were a lot of wides today and a number fell short into the goalkeeper’s hands. We have plenty to work on and I don’t think our boys are getting carried away because they have won two games in the McKenna Cup.”
DONEGAL captain Michael Murphy is out for at least eight weeks after an operation to repair a groin injury, and manager Jim McGuinness has promised not to rush his star man back.
“Whatever decision is made will be made in Michael’s best interests,” said McGuinness.
“It won’t be a decision based on trying to get him back within a timeframe or trying to get him back for the start of the league or halfway through the league or whatever it takes.
“It is important that we get the proper treatment and rehabilitation plan for him. He is 22 years of age so obviously we want to protect him as best we can and make sure he is playing football when he is 32.
“Rushing players back when an injury is anyway serious would be a danger.”
MIKE Moloney may make an effort to return to the Kerry squad after moving back to Ireland from London. Moloney will play his club football with Dr. Crokes again and could catch the eye of Kerry boss Jack O’Connor.
Moloney told the Irish Examiner, “I want to get back playing with the Crokes first and see how that goes. Whatever happens after that, we’ll just take it as it comes.”
KILKENNY legend Eddie Brennan has joined the retirement bandwagon and announced the end of his time with the Cats squad after eight All-Ireland titles.
Brennan has been startled by the goodwill directed towards after news of his decision broke at the weekend.
“I didn’t expect it to cause this much of a stir. I’ve been inundated with best wishes but I’m surprised by the overwhelming reaction,” he said.
O’Neill in Form
COLM O’Neill made his return for Cork in Sunday’s McGrath Cup win over Clare and scored two goals for the Rebels just months after cruciate ligament surgery.
“That second goal was a flash of the Colm of old. There was good teamwork involved in it and the finish then was very nice to see,” said Cork boss Conor Counihan.
FORMER Donegal manager Brian McEniff has confirmed that he will act as a selector for the Louth team boss Peter Fitzpatrick this season. Forward Johnny Murtagh has transferred to Louth after previously playing for his native Armagh and New York . . .
HIP surgery has ruled full-forward Daroch Honan out of Clarke’s NHL campaign. New boss Davy Fitzgerald is also likely to be without Mark Flaherty for most of the season after he underwent cruciate knee ligament surgery . . .
VETERAN Kerry star Tommy Griffin has announced his retirement from inter-county football after 12 years with the Kingdom, and five All-Ireland medals. “It’s the right time to hang up the boots,” said the 33-year-old . . .
EOIN Kelly could return to the Waterford hurling squad after conciliatory talks with new manager Michael Ryan just weeks after he was axed over concerns about his fitness . . .
ANTRIM footballer CJ McGourty will be sidelined for several months after he fractured a fibular bone during UUJ’s Dr. McKenna Cup defeat to Derry on Saturday night . . .
TWINS Maurice and Thomas O’Gorman have opted to play with the Waterford hurlers and not the county footballers in the coming season . . .
GUINNESS, Etihad Airways and Centra will continue their sponsorship of the All-Ireland hurling championship in 2012.