Mulligan hit by new injury blow
EMLYN MULLIGAN, Leitrim's most talented young player, has suffered a repeat of the cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out of action last season.
In a devastating blow, Mulligan will now have to pick up the pieces and forget about playing football again in 2010. He jammed his foot in a pitch divot over the weekend while playing for his club Melvin Gaels and a scan on Tuesday confirmed the worst possible news.
Coming on the back of a double cruciate tear and medial ligament damage for the experienced Colin Regan, which has also been confirmed this week and which will probably finish the 34-year-old's career, it compounds the misery for club, county and the Mickey Moran / John Morrison management axis.
"Emlyn informed the physio on Wednesday that the scan showed more cruciate damage where the graft from the previous operation was," said Moran yesterday. "It's a devastating blow for the lad, happening so soon after last year."
On his day Mulligan is one of the most prolific scorers in Connacht football and contributed 0-20 in the the 2008 provincial championship.
"He had been hoping that maybe it wasn't a repeat because the movement wasn't as bad as it was the last time. I spoke to him on Wednesday night and he could hardly talk," added Moran.
The joint manager was just as despondent about the loss of the veteran Regan, who had been persuaded back to the fold because of his experience. Regan did his damage in a club training session and Moran admits that, given the scale of his injury, he's unlikely to play again.
"Colin is one of the most respected footballers in the county and we're devastated for him too," said Moran. "It's a double tear of the cruciate on top of medial ligament damage."
Leitrim are already without the influential Declan Maxwell, who had surgery for an ongoing problem with a ligament in his foot two weeks ago and will be laid up for the remainder of the league.
Leitrim can ill afford to do without so many key players and are already struggling in Division 4 of the NFL as they absorb the losses through emigration of Gary McCloskey and Adrian O'Flynn to London and Pat Gilmartin to New Zealand.
"It's like starting all over again for us," said Moran, who has called on the GAA for greater financial support for small counties like Leitrim. According to Moran, Leitrim regularly find themselves training outside the county because of a dearth of suitable facilities there.
"When I see the money Derry get for training facilities, Tyrone too, and Dublin, I feel for Leitrim. Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to see those counties get whatever they can but when Leitrim have to train in Mullingar or Longford because the one pitch that has sufficient lighting that we can use can't take heavy rain, there's an imbalance somewhere.
"There are plans for a training facility in Annaduff but the money isn't there to develop. Maybe it will come. But it can be demoralising for a county."