Are you in or near Louth? Grab your boots, you're in the team
In Friday’s Hospital Pass, the stark problems facing 2010 Leinster champions Louth and fears that the same trouble could befall Waterford sooner rather than later.
You’d need to have a heart of stone not to feel for the GAA folk in Louth. Okay, maybe not the handful of loons who tried to shoulder Martin Sludden and missed a couple of years ago. But the rest of them, yep, you’d have to feel sorry for them.
Two years ago they were seconds away from a Leinster title, their first in more than half a century. They would all have been able to retire, en masse, safe in the knowledge that their immortality was complete. All of them would have been able to open shops and pubs and tool-hire joints all over the county and make a nice little living for themselves for the rest of their days, safe in the knowledge that they’d still be talking about the day they won the Leinster 40 years from now.
But it didn’t happen like that.
And now, two years later, things are looking bleaker than ever. Because this week Peter Fitzpatrick, the Louth manager, had to call off training as he didn’t have enough players available. Of his initial panel of 30 injury and emigration means he has just nine available, according to the Irish Examiner. Or four, says the Indo.
“I'm not going to flog these players,” he said. “They are down to play another couple of games with their clubs before the qualifiers. It's a heavy schedule and that's why you have so many players carrying knocks. Only four of them could train on Monday night. There’s no point. I cancelled challenge games against Cavan and Laois, too. I have never seen anything like the injuries we have, and these lads need rest.”
Given how bad things are going they’ll have plenty of rest after the first round of the qualifiers on June 30th.
Trouble down south
If things are bleak in Louth they’re not looking too hot in Waterford either, where The Greatest Of All The Déise™ Ken McGrath has been talking about the chances of losing top players to emigration.
“Before you’d never lose a top player,” McGrath, now a Waterford selector, told the Irish Daily Star. “You’d never lose any player. There was always someone who’d come in and offer him something. That’s not there any more and it’s going to get harder and harder for the next couple of years to keep them.”
All of Waterford’s key men will be in the side for Sunday’s Munster senior hurling championship semi-final. Whether that will be enough to get them a win, though, we’re not so sure. Actually, we think Clare are going to win. And we’re putting money on it too.