GAA Football

Darragh O'Hanlon expected to return in Kilcoo semi-final after concussion

Darragh O'Hanlon celebrates his penalty for Kilcoo in Sunday's win over Glenswilly. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

DARRAGH O’Hanlon is expected to be fit to play in Kilcoo’s Ulster Club SFC semi-final with Maghery on November 13 after leaving the field on a stretcher towards the end of Sunday’s victory over Glenswilly.

There was major concern around Pairc Esler as O’Hanlon lay motionless on the ground following a heavy hit from Glenswilly’s Brian Farrelly late in the game, which the Magpies won by six points.

Having been taken straight to Daisy Hill hospital, O’Hanlon was released on Sunday night after being diagnosed with concussion and “injuries associated with whiplash from a car accident”, according to a Kilcoo spokesman.

The GAA’s concussion guideline document recommends that while any player with a suspected concussion must be immediately removed from the field, and not return to play on the same day, the actual decision on when they return rests solely with the team doctor.

O’Hanlon, who also has a sore shoulder, was said to be in “good spirits” and is likely to return for the semi-final date against the Armagh champions, which will also be played at Pairc Esler.

It was an eventful day for O’Hanlon all round. He scored the spot kick after 42 minutes that helped turn the tide in Kilcoo’s favour just as Glenswilly looked to be getting a foothold in the game.

O’Hanlon stepped up after Conor Laverty had been felled inside the square by Cathal Gallagher, who was shown a red card, and slotted underneath James Gallagher. Glenswilly didn’t trouble the scoreboard again as the Magpies progressed.

And with the Maghery game now on the horizon, the experienced Aidan Branagan faces a race against time to force his way into the start 15.

The former Down defender pulled a hamstring in the county final win over Clonduff and, although he played in the Ulster SFC preliminary round win over Scotstown, Branagan didn’t play on Sunday – despite being named in the programme team.

He was replaced by brother Eugene, who was one of Kilcoo’s star performers, but it would be a huge boost for the Magpies to welcome their joint captain back into the fold.

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