Fears for Down trio
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
DOWN manager Eamonn Burns is sweating on the fitness of key trio of Johnston brothers Jerome and Ryan while Rostrevor's Caolan Mooney is also a serious doubt ahead of the Ulster Championship clash against rivals Armagh.
Time maybe on Burns' side as the two teams don't go head-to-head until June 4, but there is no doubt their absence is a massive blow to Down's Championship preparations.
It was Jerome Johnston's last gasp point against Cork which secured Down's place in Division Two of the Allianz National League last week. He sat out the Down Division One Final for his club Kilcoo, while his brother Ryan limped off with hamstring complaints before being red carded in a heated final few minutes against Castlewellan on Friday night.
The Democrat understands that Mooney was due to undergo a scan yesterday (Monday) to ascertain the extent of his injuries he suffered playing for Rostrevor in their opening game of the season.
It is feared Mooney's knee injury could be so serious, it could rule him out for the rest of the season. Which would be a tough break for Down and Rostrevor manager Shane Mulholland.
Mooney has been exceptional for Down this season, with his lung bursting runs and long-range points proving difficult to stop. Even in his post-match press briefings Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney identified Mooney as player they need to watch.
Both Jerome and Mooney face a race against time to be fit for the Ulster Championship clash in Pairc Esler in June. It is a massive blow for Johnston who has had to fight back from ligament damage numerous times over the past three years.
All three players played a pivotal role in back-to-back Hogan Cup wins for St Colman's in 2010 and 2011 when playing under Cathal Murray, who has helped Down get the best out of the three players since joining the Down management team at the start of the season.
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