RUAIRI Deane looks unlikely to play any part in Bantry Blues’ county senior A championship opener against Éire Óg this Saturday afternoon in Ballingeary (3pm throw-in).
The Cork senior footballer, who suffered a hamstring injury during a Cork training session in late February, has all but been ruled out by Bantry manager Tony O’Shea, but hopes are high that Deane will figure in the West Cork side’s remaining group matches.
‘Ruairi might make an appearance in our next match, but I don’t see him lining out against Éire Óg at all,’ Bantry Blues manager Tony O’Shea said. ‘He is back training with us alright. He is not back to full fitness just yet and is just not ready for this first game. We will see after that. You have to take a long-term view with Ruairi because another three or four weeks will do a lot for him.’
Despite that potential setback, the Blues are looking forward to a rerun of last season’s PIFC semi-final which Éire Óg edged 2-16 to 3-11 in front of a huge attendance in Clonakilty.
‘We are all looking forward to getting back to it,’ O’Shea admitted. ‘It’s great to have the championship back on again after the lockdown. It has meant for a very broken season, but everyone involved with Bantry is looking forward to it. There are a lot of changes to our team this year. It looks like we will be down as many as six starters from 2019. Two have emigrated, one or two have retired and Ruairi is injured, so it’s going to be a very tough ask against Éire Óg.’ Dipping into their underage ranks, O’Shea is hoping some of Bantry’s U20’s and minor contingent can make the step up the senior grade in a group also containing Kiskeam and Mallow.
‘There might be one or two younger fellas coming into the reckoning alright,’ O’Shea said.
‘We also have Arthur Coakley back following his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury. It’s great for Arthur and we have made him vice-captain for the year. He is such a dedicated lad, a good shooter and well able to kick a few points.’