GAA Football

Armagh sweat on results of Ethan Rafferty knee scan ahead of Fermanagh clash

Neil Loughran

ARMAGH forward Ethan Rafferty is sweating on the results of a knee scan after being forced off early in last weekend’s win over Derry, with the Orchard management expecting to discover the extent of the damage today.

The Grange forward – Armagh’s top scorer in the National League – came off just eight minutes into the clash with the Oak Leafs, and was replaced by Colm Watters.

Orchard backroom team member Jim McCorry admitted Rafferty was “very doubtful” for Sunday’s all-Ulster showdown with Fermanagh in Brewster Park as they await a definite prognosis.

“He had an initial scan done and is getting another specialist scan done so we’ll probably know more tomorrow night,” said McCorry.

“It’ll depend on what the scans show. If they show medial ligament damage, in a few weeks you could maybe get somebody back like that, but if it’s major ligament damage or structural damage to the knee, that would do him for the League.

“If it’s cruciate, you’re talking about affecting the Championship as well, but we’re hopeful that won’t be the case. We’ll see what way it pans out.”

Rafferty is just the latest to join the growing list of casualties on Kieran McGeeney’s panel, with Mark Shields (ankle), Brendan Donaghy (hamstring) and Aaron McKay (broken finger) already sidelined.

Rafferty aside, the victory over Derry came at further cost too, with Crossmaglen’s Paul Hughes failing to reappear for the second half after suffering an ankle ligament injury, while Joe McElroy came off with a hamstring problem.

“They were both significant injuries too,” continued McCorry, who confirmed that Gavin McParland is “back in the mix for selection” after returning from his own injury woes.

“Paul has to get a specialist scan on his ankle – you don’t know the extent of the damage until you get it fully assessed – and Joe’s is a hamstring injury, so I would doubt very much that they’ll play any part this week, but hopefully for Wexford.”

And the Orchardmen will hope to make the trip to Ireland’s south east on the final day of the League having already secured promotion to Division Two with a win over Fermanagh.

Last weekend’s defeat to fellow promotion-chasers Westmeath was a bitter blow to the Erne County’s hopes of bouncing straight back up to the second tier, and McCorry expects Armagh to face their “toughest challenge yet” on Sunday.

“Fermanagh lost last week so they’ll be even more hungry for this one,” said McCorry of the county Armagh will also face in the quarter-final of the Ulster Championship on May 19

“If they win they’re back in the frame whereas if they lose they’re probably looking at missing out on promotion. It’s in Brewster Park, they’ll be hungry to get those points so it’s our toughest challenge yet.

“They’re a very strong side, a very defensive side. They’ve brought that blanket defence in again with the transition attack, and we haven’t really faced a team as defensive as Fermanagh.

“To break that down is very hard for any team to do. Those are the kind of challenges you want to get ready for bigger competitions coming up later in the year.”

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