GAA Football

Defensive duo return to give O'Rourke selection headaches

Colin Walshe (pictured) and Conor Boyle will both be fit for Monaghan's Ulster SFC semi-final with Fermanagh this weekend.

MALACHY O’Rourke could be set for a few selection headaches ahead of Sunday’s Ulster semi-final with Fermanagh as he welcomes back two key defenders.

Captain Colin Walshe is now injury free, having come off the bench against the Red Hands to great effect, kicking one of the late scores that took the game back into his side’s control.

Full-back Conor Boyle was one of only two ever-present players in the National League, playing all 490 minutes of their Division One campaign, but missed the win over Tyrone completely with a hamstring injury.

He too should be available from the start this weekend. Kieran Duffy and Dessie Mone were the late introductions and both impressed, while Fintan Kelly’s positioning at wing-forward to nullify Peter Harte created another solution.

Goalscorer Vinny Corey will surely retain his place after a sticky performance against Mattie Donnelly, while Karl O’Connell is virtually undroppable, leaving O’Rourke with eight strong options for six defensive positions.

If both Quigley brothers start for Fermanagh, as they did against Armagh, then it is likely that Boyle and Drew Wylie will be the pairing in the full-back line, with Corey the most likely man to pick up the roving Conall Jones.

Fintan Kelly could well be detailed to curtail Barry Mulrone’s thrusts from half-back, leaving a choice between Walshe, O’Connell, Duffy and Mone for the final two spots in defence.

Conor McCarthy’s impressive display off the bench in Omagh has become something of a trademark and he could potentially come in for Dessie Ward, although former Erne player and manager O’Rourke has displayed a preference to retain McCarthy’s services for the final half hour when things start to open up.

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GAA Football