Rebels suffer Sheehan blow
Cork have been dealt another major blow to their prospects of retaining their All-Ireland football title with confirmation that Ciaran Sheehan has suffered a torn cruciate ligament.
He's the second highly talented young Cork attacker to suffer the injury in a matter of months, following the damage that Colm O'Neill sustained against Galway in a National League clash in March.
Sheehan and O'Neill had been seen as key men in Cork's defence of their title.
But after a scan in Cork yesterday, the county board confirmed the dreaded news. Sheehan was involved in a tangle just after half-time and it was apparent straight away that he had suffered a serious injury. He was immediately replaced by Fintan Goold.
The brace attached to his damaged knee by medical staff suggested that the cruciate was torn.
Sheehan had been in impressive form for the Rebels all season and the 20-year-old was really developing into a leader in attack. Coupled with O'Neill's absence, his injury casts doubts over Cork's prospects for the rest of the season.
Cork have allowed a lot of players to retire or drift over the last couple of seasons on the basis that they had such an impressive supply of talent following through.
Experienced forwards such as John Hayes and Kevin McMahon walked away earlier in the season, while James Masters departed in early 2010.
It remains to be seen if Hayes will be offered a chance to return, as experienced cover for the inside trio is thin on the ground.
With Kieran O'Connor, Paddy O'Shea and Derek Kavanagh also retiring or quitting, it means that seven of last year's All-Ireland winning squad are now out of the picture.