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Sligo without key players for potential Big Apple banana skin

SLIGO manager Niall Carew must plan without a number of key players when his side make the journey to New York for their preliminary round Connacht SFC tie at Gaelic Park on May 7.

Niall Murphy, Kevin McDonald, Gerard O’Kelly Lynch and Luke Nicholson will all be absent due to injury and exam commitments.

Murphy suffered a Grade 2 tear of his hamstring and will be out of action for at least six weeks.

Meanwhile, McDonald, O’Kelly Lynch and U21 star Nicholson miss out due to exams, with the squad unable to be back in Ireland in time.

Indeed Murphy and Cian Breheny will sit examinations on Tuesday but Breheny is committed to lining out for Sligo, as was Murphy before his injury setback.

“It’s very disappointing to be without such important players” says Carew. “Niall’s injury is one of those things that can’t be legislated for, but if the game had been fixed for the Bank Holiday weekend, the lads would not have had to deal with exams.

“Kevin and Gerard are key members of our defence, while Luke was full-back with the U21s and has been doing very well. Cian will be travelling with us but it will be hard for him with exams to do almost as soon as we land.

“It’s a pity because it was something that could have been avoided but with the game on Sunday night Irish time, there is absolutely no way around it and we just have to get on with it now.”

Carew would like to have been making the trip with a full squad for a game that has the potential to be a banana skin, given that Roscommon only escaped unscathed by the skin of their teeth last year.

That one-point defeat by a team that had appeared in a Division 1 League semi-final just a matter of weeks earlier has buoyed the GAA fraternity in the Big Apple. They have invested heavily in their preparations for the Sligo match by bringing Donegal over this week and scheduling games for yesterday and tomorrow.

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