By Michael McMullan
IT will be a waiting game for Setanta who will give their injured trio every chance of making themselves available for Saturday’s senior hurling final clash with St Eunan’s in O’Donnell Park (6pm).
Josh McGee-Cronolly, Declan Coulter and Sean Ward all came in their semi-final win over Buncrana with knee injuries.
“We were back on Monday night for a recovery session but the big worry is that we picked up a few injuries and some of them would be our main players,” said selector Gary McGettigan of the limping trio.
“It is too early to say. The three of them were hobbling about last night (Monday) so we’ll be damn lucky if all three make it.
“We had a corner-back Ruairi McLaughlin, a young lad 19 or 20 who had just pushed his way onto the team this year.
“He is definitely out after breaking his collar bone after a minute and a half of Saturday’s game.”
McGettigan stepped down as manager after three seasons, with players Kevin Campbell and Niall Cleary taking on the gig on a joint ticket.
He is back involved, helping run the line, as the duo mix management with carrying on their playing careers.
McGettigan highlights the current format of getting the hurling championship played off before the football action begins as “not ideal”.
While it’s something they’ve unsuccessfully voiced as an issue, the focus is on Saturday and retaining their title.
“We have 10 boys on the county panel and a good run last year with winning Ulster,” said McGettigan, still hurting from passing up an All-Ireland run after falling to Kilburn Gaels.
“We didn’t finish up until December and those boys were out a week or two later for pre-season with the county
“They had a one-week break after the county season. Then we played seven weeks in a row, the semi-final was eight and this weekend will be nine. Any wee niggle at all and you have no time.”
McGettigan points to Saturday’s winners then having to wait around for nearly three months for the Ulster series.
“I am sure we will still be going in as favourites but it is going to be a big ask,” he added.
“I watched St Eunan’s in their win over Burt and they are going well and are a big physical team.
“We played them in the final two years ago and they beat us, so we are under no illusions about it being a tough game.”
It was hurt that drove Setanta back to the top next season and McGettigan hopes that hunger is still in the tank this weekend.
“I suppose we’ll find out on Saturday,” he added, feeling it will be a “big ask” with their injury situation.
“If we can settle the game down and play the way we are capable of, we can beat them
“Eunan’s have been getting strong the last couple of years and their main players are in their mid-twenties. Like ourselves, they get a few transfers in to help.”