HAVING failed to have the suspensions handed out to star players, Mark O’Keeffe and Billy Dunne as a result of their dismissals in the All-Ireland Club IHC semi-final lifted by the CHC and CAC in Croke Park during the week, the only avenue now open to Fr O’Neill’s would be to take their case to the DRA (Disputes Resolution Authority) either before or on Friday night.
In the event of both players being ruled out for Saturday's All-Ireland final with Tullaroan from Kilkenny, the management team will have to make two changes to the starting 15.
In the victory over Connacht champions Tooreen in the semi-final, Liam O’Driscoll and Cillian Broderick made valuable contributions after being introduced in the second-half and both got on the scoresheet with vital points.
They would appear to be in pole position to come in with Jason Hankard another option.
He too was brought on in the second-half against Toorren in Tullamore.
Fr O’Neill’s coach James O’Connor believes that Tullaroan will provide the acid test for his players but he believes the attitude and character of the players will stand them in good stead.
“They have been magnificent all year, I cannot praise them highly enough.
"Coming through the Cork championship was our only objective at the start of the year and when we won that the thing just snowballed thereafter.
“We had some right tough games against Blackrock from Limerick and St Mary’s in the Munster championship but the players stayed focused and we got the results.
“It was very difficult too after losing the two lads in the All-Ireland semi-final but again the players showed tremendous character.
“And I know that will be a similar story against a Tullaroan side that will be our toughest opponents of all, I believe.’’
Meanwhile, it was all systems go in Russell Rovers for their big day out at headquarters against Conahy Shamrocks from Kilkenny Star forward Josh Beausang is back in the equation after his shoulder injury and he will be a key figure in the Rovers attack alongside Bud Hartnett and the other forwards.