LOUTH boss Peter Fitzpatrick is sweating over the fitness of Shane Lennon for this Saturday’s crucial Allianz League fixture with Cavan.
The Kilkerley Emmets frontman lasted just 20 minutes in Drogheda before he hobbled off in pain during his side’s clash with Newtown Blues.
Having started the year injury free and playing a prominent role in Louth’s push for promotion thus far, Lennon’s absence would be a major blow to Fitzpatrick as he plans for the crunch tie at the weekend.
Speaking on Monday, just over 24 hours after the powerful frontman picked up the injury, Fitzpatrick said that Lennon was already receiving treatment to try and get him right for Saturday night.
“Shane was in serious trouble after 20 minutes. It’s a big blow, no doubt about it.”
The Louth chief revealed that Lennon felt something in his quadriceps and therefore had no option but to leave the pitch. It normally takes a serious injury for Lennon to leave the field.
Last year’s Leinster Championship was the most recent memory of this as Lennon played on in the Longford game, despite rupturing a ligament in his hand in the second half. He went on to play in the remainder of the campaign with a special cast on his thumb, before having surgery later in the year.
Fitzpatrick added: “He was playing so well over the past couple of weeks, getting sharper. As soon as we heard about it, we got him treatment straight away. He will continue that during the week and we will get a look at him on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We have no choice but to give him the treatment he needs as he had a bad 12 months with injuries last year and we don’t want the same again this year for him.”
The injury will more than likely put Lennon on the shelf alongside Ray Finnegan, who is still out with a hamstring problem. The Pat’s defender did not line out with his side over the weekend and Fitzpatrick is doubtful whether he will feature this Saturday.
“You cannot hurry a hamstring problem”, said the Louth manager.
“He is with the physio at the moment, but he is very doubtful for the game. You just cannot rush that type of
However, Fitzpatrick was greeted with some good news, one being that Ronan Carroll played for his club, St Mary’s at the weekend and that Darren Clarke is back training with the side after being sidelined with injury.
Looking to the all-important Cavan game, which Louth need to win to stand any chance of promotion, Fitzpatrick said he was happy to still have promotion in their own hands after back to back losses against Offaly and Limerick.
“The way it is set, if we win our next two games, we will get promoted. That’s the way it foes and I think we have a panel good enough.”
Whilst Finnegan’s and Lennon’s absences would be seen as a major blow, Fitzpatrick thinks he has a panel good enough and big enough to do the job required.
“I feel as though it’s a very good panel that will only get better over time. It’s vital that we win the next two games and I think we have a squad good enough to do it. Over the last couple of weeks, some players have been at me to give them a chance and now they may get it.”
After having a week to examine why they lost against Offaly and Limerick, Fitzpatrick put it down to his side’s inability to take scores at crucial moments.
“I have sat down, studied the DVDs and I think it’s down to going for goals all the time. It seems that everytime we go for a goal and don’t get one, the other side scores a point at the other end. Goals are crucial, but lucky goals come too.
“Against Limerick we scored four in a row and then they got a goal which changed the game, but numerous times against Limerick we should have taken points instead of trying to go for goal.”
One thing that has pleased Fitzpatrick is that despite the losses, his side are competing with other sides up until the final whistle, something he thinks differs from some Louth teams throughout the years.
“Every game we play, we are competing with the other team. Some Louth teams never did that before.
“We all know that lost the three lads to Australia and we need a bit of luck to go our way, but there is a belief there amongst the lads.”
Fitzer is hoping on a large following of Louth fans to come and support the team on Saturday, but also said that if Lennon and Finnegan are not fit, then they will not play.
“We are two away wins from getting promoted and I think there is no point in having a squad of 27 if you don’t use it, which is what I am going to do.
“If the two lads are not fit, they won’t play. We won’t abuse players as it could keep them out for longer.
Louth’s game with Cavan has a throw-in time of 7.30pm in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday night.