Ryan Johnston the major Down injury worry
KILCOO forward Ryan Johnston is Down’s biggest doubt for their Ulster SFC derby tie with Armagh after he missed the entire block of April games with his club.
Johnston suffered a torn hamstring at the beginning of the month and wasn’t fit for club duty during the block of games. Down players are now excused from club duty until their Páirc Esler meeting with their neighbours on May 19.
Paddy Tally’s men took on Donegal in a challenge game at the weekend, losing by two points. The Mournemen were without Kevin McKernan, Darren O’Hagan and Caolan Mooney as well as Johnston, but all three are expected to take part in a challenge game against Galway later this week.
Michael Murphy, Patrick McBrearty, Michael Langan, Jamie Brennan and Oisin Gallen were all missing for the Tír Chonaill men on a day that saw Paul Durcan play his first game of inter-county football since the 2014 All-Ireland final.
They lost Niall O’Donnell and Jason McGee to knocks during the game. Donegal’s provincial campaign doesn’t begin until May 26 when they face old boss Rory Gallagher once more, this time in Brewster Park.
Derry, meanwhile, will be without Eamon McGill for their opener with Tyrone this weekend. The young Lavey defender suffered a broken wrist on club duty last weekend. With Michael McEvoy opting out to go to America, the pair that have operated as the sweeper for the Oak Leafers during the league are now both absent.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte reported a clean bill of health last week ahead of the game, for which the attendance could well be hit by the unexpected clash with the final day of Liverpool’s challenge for the Premier League title.