Galvin set for his first competitive start in over for a year for Limerick against Offaly in Division Four decider

Midfielder suffered two cruciate injuries but played full hour of recent challenge game

John Galvin: played the full hour of a challenge match against Laois

John Galvin: played the full hour of a challenge match against Laois


Limerick’s talismanic midfielder John Galvin is in line for his first competitive intercounty start for over a year in Saturday’s Allianz Division Four football final against Offaly at Croke Park.

Limerick boss Maurice Horan will announce his team this evening – and Galvin is tipped to start. The inspirational Croom clubman, who suffered cruciate knee ligament damage for the second time against Fermanagh in April 2012, made substitute appearances against London and Clare in Limerick’s last two League outings.

And Galvin, 32, took another big step forward last weekend by playing the full hour against Laois in a challenge match.

Horan admitted: “He’s strongly in contention for a starting place. He has to be at this time of the year, with championship looming. The best thing about the Laois game last weekend was that John Galvin played in it – and Stephen Lucey played as well.”

Former dual star Lucey made his comeback from injury in the final minutes of the league victory over Clare – a win that secured Division Three football for next season and a Division Four final appearance.

Horan expects Stephen Kelly and Jim Donovan to return to training in the next couple of weeks, with John Cooke a long-term absentee as he recovers from cruciate knee ligament damage.

Horan has also revealed that goalkeeper Brian Scanlon, matchwinner against Waterford in the 2010 Division 4 final with a late 45, is in danger of missing the final with a quad injury. Donal O’Sullivan has stepped in for the London and Clare games and will get the nod between the sticks once again if Scanlon doesn’t make it in time.

Horan added: “I think this is the fourth time that Limerick footballers have ever played at Croke Park and that’s a great bonus for us.

“But Offaly, after a couple of losses, steadied the boat and won their last four games, putting up huge scores. Niall McNamee, Ken Casey and Brian Connor are good forwards and they seem to be a team that works very hard off the ball.”

Horrific leg break
Meanwhile, Cork selector Seánie McGrath has described Paudie O’Sullivan’s horrific leg break as a “terrible disappointment”. O’Sullivan, 24, will miss the entire All-Ireland championship campaign after suffering a broken tibia and fibula while playing for East Cork divisional side Imokilly on Tuesday. His injury led to the abandonment of the game against Cork IT in Carrigtwohill and the talented forward underwent surgery yesterday.

McGrath said: “It’s a big blow to him personally. He’s a fabulous player, had trained so hard over the last couple of months and put in a massive effort,” said McGrath.

Due to the severe nature of O’Sullivan’s injury, It could be next summer before the Cloyne clubman returns to intercounty action, with McGrath hopeful that the player will return to the Cork colours within 12 months.

O’Sullivan was just 18 when he sustained cruciate knee ligament damage in 2007 and this latest setback has come as another major blow. McGrath added: “Paudie will get the operation out of the way, recuperate at home, rehab after that. He’s got a long journey ahead but he’s very strong-minded. He’s got a career ahead of him work-wise and everything is in a good place.

Meanwhile, McGrath expects forward Jamie Coughlan to be fit in time for the Munster SHC semi-final against Clare or Waterford on June 23rd.

Coughlan, 21, underwent surgery on a hip injury in February and McGrath confirmed: “He should be available for selection. That’s what we’re targeting – June 23rd – once there’s no recurrence and he’s on target.”

The other good news on the injury front for Cork is that defenders Stephen McDonnell and Shane O’Neill are back in training after missing the relegation play-off defeat to Clare.

McGrath added: “I won’t say it (relegation) bothers me but it’s very much about the here and now as far as we’re concerned. We got a three year term – last year was ok and this year we did reasonably well in the League. Now, every single thing energy-wise is about the championship.

“We’ll worry about next year’s league in January 2014. ”