Dessie Farrell hopes two-week break can solve Dublin’s injury woes while Kerry’s options improve

Dessie Farrell is hoping that a two-week window will give several of Dublin’s walking wounded a chance to feature against Mayo in Croke Park on Saturday week.

he Sky Blues have endured a miserable start to their Allianz Football League campaign with heavy back-to-back defeats, but Farrell’s options have been hindered by the injury-enforced absence of a handful of his front-line regulars.

James McCarthy and Con O’Callaghan were originally named to start against Kerry last Saturday night but ultimately didn’t make the match-day squad.

Dublin were also without five others who had started last year’s All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo: Mick Fitzsimons and Jonny Cooper have yet to see any competitive action in 2022, Paddy Small was injured on O’Byrne Cup duty in Longford, while Cormac Costello and Eoin Murchan were forced off during Dublin’s Division 1 opener against Armagh.

“Our hand is forced a little bit because some of those lads are out – but nothing long-term,” said Farrell, who didn’t go into specifics but confirmed that O’Callaghan was injured in a pre-league challenge game, believed to be against Roscommon.

“I think we’re just unfortunate at the minute that we have a spate of them. Some soft tissue, others contact injuries. But we’ve a window now of two weeks and that should help a little to alleviate the pressure.”

However, promising midfielder Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne could be out for longer with a groin problem. “He got hurt during the Sigerson, so he’s a couple of weeks for sure. But we’re hoping to get these lads back towards the back end of the league,” Farrell concluded.

The pressure has intensified on Dublin after their seven-point defeat in Tralee, but Kerry manager Jack O’Connor has warned against predictions of their demise.

“I’m not getting carried away because it’s obvious that Dublin are down a good bit of firepower – and when they get all them back, they’ll be a different team later on,” he insisted.

O’Connor’s own selection options are improving after Stephen O’Brien returned off the bench against the Dubs, while Mike Breen is “pretty much back to full speed”.

The veteran boss added: “Gavin White’s hamstring is to be assessed [this week] but it doesn’t look like he’ll be back for a few weeks. The rest of them are long-term enough.

“Stefan Okunbor has put out his shoulder. David Moran has the hip flexor injury, and Joe O’Connor had the cartilage operation – he has a bit of swelling in his knee all the time, so he’ll rehab for a few weeks.”

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