Waterford star O'Neill to go under the knife after cruciate blow
Waterford boss Michael Ryan has confirmed that promising Deise youngster Martin O'Neill picked up a cruciate knee ligament damage in last Saturday's thrilling qualifier defeat to Kilkenny.
O'Neill, Waterford's minor team captain in 2009, is due to undergo surgery in three weeks' time and is targeting next year's National League campaign for a return to action.
Ryan said: "He's very disappointed. It was the first ball he went for. He'll have an operation in a few weeks' time and Martin is devastated because he's missing the club championship as well."
Ryan reiterated his massive pride following the extra-time defeat against the All-Ireland champions.
He has already stated his desire to continue in the role next year and the former De La Salle manager added: "I'm so proud of all of those guys, the way they played, and it was a tremendously enjoyable year. Everybody worked so hard and great credit is due to them.
"We lost good players through injury – five of the starting line-up from the Clare game in the National League."
Waterford began their league season with victory over the Banner County in Ennis, but they lined out in their final championship game of the summer without Stephen Daniels, Brian O'Halloran, Pauric Mahony, Gavin O'Brien and Shane Walsh – the latter four players all forwards.
"Shane Walsh deserves great credit, in fairness. He played against Kilkenny even though he wasn't fully recovered. He went in and battled away like a man," said Ryan.
Meanwhile, Galway football manager Alan Mulholland is sweating over the fitness of wing-forwards Mike Farragher and John O'Brien ahead of Saturday's Round 3 qualifier with Armagh.
Farragher made a goal-scoring debut against Tipperary in Round 1 but is a doubt with a calf injury, while O'Brien, who started against Waterford in their Round 2 clash, is also troubled with a calf problem.
But there is more positive news on U-21 star Shane Walsh, who has made a recovery for a foot injury, which ruled him out of the Round 2 game.
"John and Mike are major doubts for us at this stage. They are both 50-50 to play any part, Mullholland said.
"John picked up his knock in club action and Mike pulled up in training the other day. We'll keep a good eye on them in the next few days, but I'm not sure if they'll make it."