Matthew Fitzpatrick shakes off ankle injury and declared fit for Antrim's All-Ireland Qualifier campaign
ANTRIM forward Matthew Fitzpatrick has recovered from an ankle injury and is fit to face Sligo in Saturday’s All-Ireland Round 1A Qualifier at Markievicz Park.
The St John’s clubman was stretchered off just before half-time in Antrim’s Ulster Championship defeat to Donegal on May 21 but is showing no ill-effects from the injury.
“Fitzy is back training and it’s good to have him back,” said joint boss Gearoid Adams.
Conor Murray returns from suspension and boosts Antrim’s attacking options, while Lamh Dhearg’s Ryan Murray is fully recovered from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss their Ulster Championship game with Donegal.
Murray is another player who offers a scoring threat for Antrim and is also a capable free-taker.
Frank Fitzsimons and Adams’ side were heavily reliant on Tomas McCann and CJ McGourty mining scores against Donegal.
Stephen Beatty (0-1) and Conor Small (1-0) were the others who got on the score-sheet in Ballybofey.
Glenavy’s Eoin Gallagher, brother of full-back Patrick, has also rejoined the panel and is a noted scorer and has physical presence.
“Eoin was studying in Galway and was back two weeks before the Donegal game so he has a few more weeks' training under him now,” Adams added.
“Ryan [Murray] is back to full training and we’ve Conor Murray back too. It’s good to have all those players back.”
Antrim have lost no players since their 16-point defeat to Donegal 24 days ago.
Meanwhile, Antrim’s opponents Sligo could be without seasoned forward David Kelly (hamstring) while Cian Breheny is definitely ruled out for the Yeats men.
“Losing David and Cian are big blows,” said Sligo boss Niall Carew. “But you’re always going to lose a couple of players at this time of year. Both got hurt in training. David might be togging out but I can’t see him making it.”