Major doubts surround John Galvin's Limerick football career after confirmation that he has suffered a dreaded ruptured cruciate ligament injury.
Galvin will not play again this year and, at 31, there will be concerns over his ability to get back to the level he has operated at for much of his career.
The towering midfielder, who made his debut for Limerick in 1999, sustained the damage in a challenge match against Down at the weekend.
Initially, Limerick manager Maurice Horan was hopeful that it would be less serious ligament damage, but an MRI scan on Wednesday confirmed the bad news.
"We can't state how great a loss he is. We were just talking about the fact recently that he hasn't missed a championship game for Limerick since 2001. His career spans across three decades now," said Horan.
Horan confirmed that Galvin has intimated that he is determined to come back. "John is a very committed player," he said. "He'll want to get himself right quickly."
Horan admitted that a difficult season for Limerick has been made even tougher by the news that their leader will miss the forthcoming Munster championship. He is now facing surgery and at least an eight-month rehabilitation period.
Galvin's performance against Kerry in last year's Munster final dragged Limerick back into that particular match and he was unlucky not to have claimed a first All Star. He did, however, win a GPA award.
Galvin is the third football player from a Munster county in recent weeks to sustain this type of injury, which looks set to keep him out until at least March of next year.
Kerry's David Moran and Cork's Colm O'Neill did the same damage within days of each other in league matches and are out for the rest of the year.