A big wee problem for Louth boss Fitzpatrick
Peter Fitzpatrick is facing a wee problem ahead of Louth v Westmeath this weekend, while one high profile referee reckons helmets are having an adverse effect on player safety in hurling.
Fitzer's fitness test
With injuries and emigration taking their toll, training numbers drastically reduced and the scars from the Dublin massacre earlier this month yet to fully heal, it’s not stretching it to say that the Louth footballers are hurting at the moment.
But while Paddy Keenan has a bad knee and Ronan Carroll a bad hip, it also wouldn’t be stretching it to say that no player in the Louth squad is hurting as much as their manager Peter Fitzpatrick, who was taken to hospital with a wee problem on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately in this case, 'wee' is not intended as a play on Louth’s moniker as the ‘Wee County’ nor is it meant to infer that Fitzpatrick’s problem is of the minor variety.
Struck with an excruciating pain while watching television at home on Wednesday night, Fitzpatrick summoned an ambulance to take him to Drogheda hospital, where it was revealed that he had kidney stones.
Now we’re no medical experts, but as far as we’re aware, as medical conditions go, kidney stones is up there with a damaged coccyx (tailbone) and swollen ear when hit by a football on a cold day when it comes to the ouch factor.
If any of you were in doubt as to the extent of said unpleasantness, take on board Fitzpatrick’s account of the ordeal he had to go through earlier this week.
“I have been injured a lot of times playing football, but this was by far the worst thing I have ever felt,” Fitzpatrick is quoted as saying in the Irish Daily Star today.
“I was watching television about 11 o’clock the other night when I started to feel the pain.
“By 1 o’clock I was on the floor on my hands and knees and I had to call an ambulance. There was no way I would have been able to get in the car.”
Fitzpatrick was kept under observation on Thursday night and with surgery not yet ruled out, he may well be absent for Louth’s Round One qualifier clash against Westmeath this weekend.
It’s not the first time the words ‘kidney’, ‘manager’ and ‘problem’ have been included in the same sentence in Irish sporting circles of late, but Fitzpatrick’s situation is entirely different from a certain rugby coach who arrived back in Ireland from New Zealand this week.
We wish Peter all the best with his recovery.
McEnaney says hurling’s increased physicality is all in the head
Some hurlers might have had a problem with the introduction of a rule making it mandatory to wear helmets because it affects their peripheral vision or messes up their hair, but it surely would never have been foreseen that helmets would actually have an adverse effect on a player’s safety on the pitch.
That’s the view of referees’ chief Pat McEnaney, however, who believes that helmets in hurling have led to an increase in more dangerous and more head-height tackling in the small ball game.
"In the past couple of years, I think the widespread use of helmets is leading to a situation where it's become more acceptable to hit at head height," McEnaney is quoted as saying in the Irish Times.
"I'm not saying that this is pre-meditated or that players set out to do it, but the helmet does seem to give a bit more freedom to make challenges like that.
"I'm not saying that as criticism of helmets, which are compulsory, but it's something we need to be aware of and give yellow cards - and red cards depending on the ferocity - when necessary.
"It's not just hurling either. We've asked referees to watch out for all challenges around the neck area."
Fair enough point from Pat, but maybe he should be paying closer attention to his own people. After all, after what happened to Brian Gavin in last year’s All-Ireland final, maybe the men in the middle should be wearing helmets too.