Versatile Galway footballer Cillian McDaid will miss their league campaign and probably most of the championship after picking up a knee injury on the first night back training, a couple of weeks ago.
The former Aussie Rules player with Carlton is set to be out for up to 12 weeks, and it is the latest injury set-back for the 23-year-old.
He won an All-Ireland minor hurling medal with Galway in 2015 and made his SF championship debut two years later, when drafted into the squad by Kevin Walsh.
A club hurler with Craughwell, who plays his football with Monivea-Abbey, he looks set for another spell on the sideline.
“He was actually only coming back from an injury at the start of the year, when he had a little procedure done on his knee,” said Galway manager Pádraic Joyce.
“And then he stepped into one of the training drills on the first night and we are being told he will be out for ten to 12 weeks. We’ll see.”
Joyce will also have to plan without former All-Star Ian Burke and the experienced Michael Daly, both of whom have pulled out due to work commitments, but he is boosted by the return of midfielder Peter Cooke, who spent last year working in New York.
“As I said to him, he’s probably the first man to come back out of New York in great shape! I think he benefited from the place being closed down for most of the year. He’s settling in, obviously a bit rusty with ball, but he has done well. He’s a good lad.”
Joyce also confirmed that Damien Comer is back to full fitness along with John Daly, and that a number of the U-20 squad which defeated Dublin in the All-Ireland final in December have been drafted in. He’s also awaiting the outcome of a scan on an ankle injury picked up by Corofin’s Darragh Silke at the weekend.
Joyce, heading into his second term in charge of Galway, said that the ban on challenge matches had made the return to play difficult.
“You were told you could go back and you’d get four weeks to prepare for the league, but you are not allowed play challenge games. And there was the fiasco last week where you can’t play challenge games, and they came out the next day and said you can play.
“As it transpired we had games organised but had to call them off, and you talk about player welfare. It’s a buzz word and I don’t know who is saying it up there in Croke Park, or do they actually look into it at all, because how do you expect lads to come back and be fully match-sharp in four weeks?
“Challenge games are part of getting a team ready, I feel we were let down a bit,” added an annoyed Joyce.