Sports

Kilcormac/Killoughey await fate of Kiely as Healion gets all clear to play

Thursday, 30 November 2017

KILCORMAC/Killoughey have appealed the dismissal of their star midfielder, Cillian Kiely and they will learn his fate after he and club officials appear in front of the Leinster Council Hearings Committee tonight (Wednesday) in Portlaoise.
Kiely was red carded after 25 minutes of their Leinster Club Senior Hurling Championship semi-final win over Carlow's Mount Leinster Rangers following an off the ball incident with Diarmuid Byrne.
Kilcormac/Killoughey decided to appeal after viewing a DVD of the game early last week. To get Kiely off, they will have to clearly show that the referee was wrong to brandish a red card. It would be a big boost to them if Kiely is exonerated, though an appeal on Wednesday evening is later than they would have liked and will delay them finalising their team for Sunday's Leinster club final against Dublin's Cuala in Portlaoise.
The Offaly champions will be planning ahead in the hope that Kiely will be cleared but in the expectation that he may not be. There has been good news for them with captain and full forward Peter Healion free to play. There had been fears that Healion had broken a bone in his leg in the win over Mount Leinster Rangers and while this is not the case, he won't be 100% fit.
Healion has operated in a new role at full forward this year and his work rate, ball winning skills and leadership have been instrumental to their progress this year. It remains to be seen if K/K risk him but if Kiely is ruled out, they will want to minimise disruption to their team.
If Kiely's ban is upheld, it will be interesting to see what way K/K pick their team. One possible option is to return Conor Mahon to familiar territory at midfield from centre half forward, with Stephen Leonard possibly starting in attack, though this would likely result in positional changes - starting one of the Geraghty's Peter or Thomas out at midfield may also be a possibility.
Even with a full strength team, Kilcormac/Killoughey would be underdogs against an excellent Cuala outfit who are the reigning provincial and All-Ireland champions. Aiming to win this championship for the second time (they won their first in 2012 when they also captured the Sean Robbins Cup for the first time), K/K have come into their very best form at the right time of year and have a very good chance here.
See page 63 for a preview of Sunday's big game.

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