Getting off on wrong foot

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

From Troy-Gate to Toe-Gate -- another day, another development in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' kicking saga.

Eight days after releasing their all-time scoring leader, Troy Westwood, the Bombers learned that one of the two men brought in to replace him hurt himself in a freak accident, and may not play in Friday's season-opener.

Duncan O'Mahony, who was to do the punting against Toronto, stubbed his toe while going to the bathroom in his hotel room in the middle of the night.

"I think he dislocated it -- it looked pretty ugly," GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "Of all people, it's the punter, who already was under the spotlight."

A sheepish O'Mahony missed practice and was going for X-rays yesterday, after telling the Bombers he stubbed his toe on a folding closet door.

"He feels horrible," Taman said. "He's embarrassed."

Friday was to be O'Mahony's third attempt at making a favourable first impression with Bomber fans.

Two years ago, he signed with Winnipeg, only to disappear just before training camp, eventually surfacing in Calgary.

Last week, fresh off signing with the Bombers again, he struggled in his pre-season debut, fumbling a snap and drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd. After the game, he admitted to being overweight and out of shape.

"From not showing up to getting booed to stubbing his toe, he hasn't gotten off on the right foot -- literally," Taman said.

After last year's revolving door of kickers, which included Rob Pikula breaking his foot in practice, the GM is starting to wonder if he's jinxed at the position, the way he used to be with offensive linemen.

"The cloud moved from the O-line to the kickers," Taman said. "What are you going to do?"

If O'Mahony can't play Friday, import field goal kicker Alexis Serna will also punt.

Serna practised punting, with mixed results, under the watchful eye of head coach Doug Berry in practice yesterday.

Berry says he didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he heard what happened to O'Mahony.

"Our trainer came in this morning, and says, 'You're not going to believe this one.' And I couldn't," Berry said. "Couldn't believe it. I was laughing so hard I was crying."

As far as he can remember, this is a first for the coach.

"You ever stubbed your toe? How many times have we done it? It's something that happens," he said. "I didn't think it would happen to a punter in the first week of the regular season."

Born in Ireland, O'Mahony certainly doesn't have the luck of the Irish when it comes to Winnipeg, since this isn't the first time he's been hurt, here.

While with the Stampeders, somebody dropped weights on his foot while unloading equipment the day before a game.

"He got through the game," Taman said. "That's why he's not dead in the water, yet. He's gone through this before."

The totalled toe is on O'Mahony's punting foot, his right.


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