DERMOT EARLEY'S career may be over after undergoing an operation on his back last week.
The Sarsfields midfielder, who has suffered two separate cruciate ligament tears in the past three years, damaged a nerve in his back during the warm-up for Kildare's league defeat to Dublin back in March and manager Kieran McGeeney painted a bleak picture of his future prospects.
"Dermot's under a lot of pressure," McGeeney admitted. "He had an operation last week and it remains to be seen if it's successful. Dermot's in a lot of trouble at the minute.
Asked whether he held out any hope of playing for Kildare again, McGeeney replied: "His thoughts are probably to do more with walking again. He's struggling with a lot of pain.
"He needs time to recuperate but we're hoping that the operation last week will help him. He'd have had a lot of wear and tear on his discs. His main priority now is just to have no pain."
Meanwhile, Mickey Harte is hopeful Joe McMahon will be fit for the Division 1 league final with Dublin on April 28 in Croke Park – but is set to be without playmaker Peter Harte.
McMahon was a late withdrawal from the Tyrone team which beat Kildare yesterday, with his number going to brother Justin, who came on as a half-time substitute,
"We would hope that he would be all right for two weeks' time," Harte explained. "He had a groin injury that he picked up during the week and if had gone out today and played on it, he would probably have set it back too far. It was a precaution we had to take today."
Peter Harte, meanwhile, limped out of the match in the 23rd minute after pulling his hamstring and his manager admitted his participation for the Dublin match was in serious question.
"It certainly doesn't appear to be good for two weeks' time, we'll see how it goes."